Celebrating two New Years in a year might be quite odd for a lot of people, but I’ve grown to enjoy two different celebrations annually, hoping to have another opportunity for a wonderful new beginning.
While I was all busy helping out with my mother’s seasonal homemade tikoy thing, I got a message from Ingrid Go about spending Chinese New Year’s eve at Mandarin Oriental. I recall some time back when Chinese New Year wasn’t an overly busy tikoy event in the family, my mom would bring my siblings and I to Mandarin Oriental to watch dragon dances and have Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner. My brother, who was born in the year of the rabbit in 1987, won a pet rabbit last 1999 at Mandarin Oriental when we were ushering the year of the rabbit. Talk about a significant coincidence!
This year, I spent it with friends, laughing the night away as we all waited for the Chinese New Year. We were first ushered outside of the hotel - right at the corner of Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas. The blessing rituals were done by the hotel's resident feng shui master Joseph Chau. The traditional dotting of the lion and dragon's eyes followed. It was in a way bringing life to these creatures, as the lively dance performance followed shortly. As we all waited for the clock to strike twelve, numbers of the final countdown were being projected on the hotel's wall. Most interesting was the giant, colorfully and artistically decorated snake that was projected, slithering up and down as an exciting display of fireworks took place.
We were invited to proceed to the dimly-lit ballroom where Chinese red lanterns illuminated the room. While we were being served the lauriat dinner, a very unique program was prepared. The story of "The Two Snake Sisters" were brought to life through dance and sand art. As the narrator told each detail of the story, the screen flashed a different form of animation using sand by Joseph the Artist, breathing new life to an old legend. Afterwards, saxophonist Vince Lahorra performed a number of songs that celebrated life and brought positive emotions to everyone in the room. Sand art accompanied his performance, showing images of butterflies, Chinese lanterns, firecrackers and the like.
The event was graced by Chinese, Filipinos, and people of diverse nationalities who brought a fun spirit to the night, becoming one with the vivacious festivities.
It was a rare occasion that brought friends and families together and I sincerely applaud Mandarin Oriental for providing all of us with a splendid evening. Once more, I greet all my friends and family "恭喜發財! / Gong Xi Fa Cai!" Until next year!