January 17, 2020

Chinatown in Binondo: Where Feng Shui and Lucky Charms Thrive

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  • Lunar New Year is as significant to the Chinese culture as the Gregorian New Year’s Day is to the rest of the modern world.

    While the Gregorian calendar is now the prevailing calendar system, the Chinese—also called Lunar—New Year remains to be one of, if not the biggest celebrations in every Chinese community in the world.

    You can experience this in Binondo, where streets lined with red lanterns are seized by lion and dragon dancers and fire breathers.

    In Chinese zodiac, every year in a 12-year cycle is represented by an animal sign, which may also have different attributed elements. For instance, the year 2020 is said to be the Year of the Metal Rat

    Unlike New Year’s Day, which always falls on January 1, the Lunar New Year falls on different dates every year depending on the cycle of the moon. This year, the Lunar New Year celebration falls on January 25.

    Part of the annual tradition is a New Year’s Eve countdown and then, on the day of the Lunar New Year, an afternoon parade that goes around major spots and thoroughfares such as Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, Ongpin Street, Dasmariñas Street, and Quintin Paredes Street.

    And as it slowly comes upon us, you might want to check your luck for this year and find out how to fight it should it be the bad kind!

    Feng Shui

    #1: Flying Stars

    The so-called “Flying Stars” in feng shui serves as a universal guide on activating positive energy and countering negative energy in one’s home or business. 

    There are nine flying stars—four bad and five good—that take their position differently every year, represented by a 3×3 square denoting the directions from the south, north, east, to west.

    Based on the chart for the year 2020, the number 7 Violence and Burglary Star is in the center. That means you have to place a feng shui cure in the center of your home to fight this negative aura.

    More generic lucky charms can be chosen based on the area you want to improve, such as health (jade), wealth (blue), or love (pink). People also refer to the lucky color/s of the year—white and bluefor 2020.

    Lucky Charms

    Guan Yu

    Guan Gong or Guan Yu is an image of a warrior god of wealth, a commonly prescribed feng shui cure for the #7 star. 

    Holy Gourd

    Also called Wu Lou, the Holy Gourd is a symbol for health and longevity—an ideal remedy for the #2 star.

    Five Element Pagoda

    The Five Element Pagoda is said to be a powerful feng shui cure for the #5 star. It may also be used to counter the #2 star.

    Amethyst

    The amethyst crystal is said to have a healing and calming effect, which is a perfect feng shui cure for the #3 star.

    Money Tree

    The Money Tree is a common feng shui cure to attract prosperity, usually placed in the southeast direction of a house or office (indoors).

    Laughing Buddha

    Another common cure in feng shui, the Laughing Buddha is known to attract money and happiness. It is usually placed in the living room and in front of the main door or in the southeast portion of the house.

    Bracelets

    Bracelets are the more economical lucky charms that you can buy from many stores in Chinatown for as low as Php 150. Choose the color and stone depending on the area you want to attract more luck in (health, wealth, career, etc.)

    Feng Shui

    #2: Fan Tai Sui

    Another common feng shui forecast guide is Tai Sui, the “Grand Duke Jupiter” or “Grand Commander of the Year.” If your animal sign is found to be clashing with the Grand Duke Jupiter, also called Fan Tai Sui, you will experience greater misfortunes than others.

    In 2020, the rat, rabbit, horse, and sheep are in conflict with Tai Sui. Carrying an amulet with the image of the Tai Sui is said to help gain favor from the deity. This year, it is General Lu Mi.

    General Lu Mi

    The information on feng shui forecasts and guide was acquired from an interview with Sam Chua, a feng shui practitioner and owner of Phoenix Dragon in Lucky Chinatown Mall. He is also the brother of Johnson Chua, a trusted feng shui expert who has appeared in various TV programs. 

    If you want to maximize your luck in the Chinese New Year, consult a feng shui expert to find out the exact feng shui cures and lucky charms ideal for you based on your zodiac sign and needs. 


    A version of this appeared in the Philippine Primer English magazine January 2020 issue.
    Photos of Guan Yu, Holy Gourd, and the Money Tree courtesy of Sam Chua, Phoenix Dragon 

               
               
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