Bacolaodiat: Celebration of Chinese New Year in Bacolod
Of red dresses, red lanterns, red envelopes, red-coloured food stalls, red dragon costumes, etc. These are some of the things that you can see in Bacolod City every February! This month marks the Bacolaodiat Festival of the Negrenses unmasking the strong bond between two cultures, Filipino and Chinese. Red is splattered everywhere! According to Andie Codie, red is the first color of spring. It’s the real colour of rebirth, of beginnings! Thus it is a symbolic colour for Chinese New Year!
Chinese New year is considered a significant festival in many countries and its celebration has extended to Filipino-Chinese communities and even to non-Chinese groups. It is popularly known as Bacolaodiat Festival in Bacolod. The term was devised from this two words “Bacolod” and “Lao Diat” (means celebration in folkien).
Lacson Street will be closed! The Chopstick Alley which flaunts an array of Chinese food will surely make your stomach tingle! Tikoy, fortune cookies, siomai, siopao, dumplings and other Chinese delicacies are everywhere. Floating red lanterns, music, bands, lighted floats definitely heighten the festive mood! Lacson street offers exciting activities to entertain the locals as well as the visitors!
A mob of people from different places join the festival to witness the different aspects of Filipino Chinese Culture! Like the Chinese community, Bacolodnons also mimic their tradition in embracing new year. Fireworks and Firecrackers are show stoppers and are used to welcome the new year. A long time ago, it is said that these things are used to frighten or ward off evil spirits specifically the mythical beast Nian who loves to eat small children. It is believed that the creature was scared of this loud noises.
Wearing of color red is also practiced! Red symbolizes fresh starts and also used to drive away bad fortunes. Hence, everyone is clad in reds from head to foot! Filipinos also practice giving of “ang pao” or red envelopes with money inside. The red envelope counts more than money! Why? Because it symbolizes giving away of blessings and good luck to the recipients! It also symbolizes forgiveness and friendship! Bonding with family is observed. Lacson streets are filled with families having dinner to spend quality time with each other.
The highlight of the festival is the Dragon and Lion Dance! This performance amplifies the mood of the festival! It brings joy and excitement to those who watches! And traditionally, this performance plays a great role in driving away evil spirits and attracting good luck! Chinese new year will not be completed without the dazzling light of the lantern competition! This is the heart of the celebration! Lanterns symbolizes light, a wish for a brighter tomorrow! It also symbolizes love!
Chinese culture is somewhat remarkable! If you want to experience a fun way of celebrating Chinese New Year then visit Bacolod! Every day is a new opportunity to have a fresh start! Explore and experience Bacolaodiat Festival!