It's that time of the year again! The Mid-Autumn Festival! And although people in the Philippines will never experience Autumn, let alone Mid-Autumn, there is still the joyfully different atmosphere in the Chinese community and beyond since it's the period of mooncakes and dice and prizes. This is my favorite time of the year, probably even more than Christmas since I get to loot goodies and angpao everytime, hehe. Last night, we went to Dad's Chinese association dice party and guess what? I got zhongwan the very first time I threw the dice. Well, I thought that this time around, I ought to be lucky with probabilities since I bombed the Stat long test, haha. Anyway, let me post an article I submitted to Celadon more than a year ago.
Modern though our times may be, I cannot deny that Chinese customs and traditions have been an integral and essential aspect of my life as a Filipino-Chinese. I believe that ancient rituals should never be forgotten because they give us insights on our rich heritage, and remind us how special our identity is: a Filipino with five thousand years of history and culture in our blood.
One of the Chinese traditions which I find most fascinating and which holds a special place in my heart is the dice party. The dice party takes place during the Mid-Autumn Festival of the Lunar Year, and it is one of the occasions I most look forward to in a year. Our family is a traditional Chinese family, so we unfailingly celebrate this event every year.
During every dice party, I become appreciative of my being Chinese as I acquire euphoric memories year after year because there is always an unpredictable atmosphere, a sense of community, and of course, excitement over the prizes at stake.
I feel this giddy, excited feeling the moment I roll the dice in my cold, sweaty hands. As I throw the dice into the bowl, I keep on praying inside my head that the six dice might roll to as many fours as possible, or create various number patterns that will win me prizes. My heart thumps with a sense of relief and fulfillment whenever I pick my prize from the center table. As I do this, I could hardly wait for my next turn, hoping for a better combination, wishing for a more desirable prize.
There have been several funny and unforgettable instances through the years during the dice parties. Not many mid-autumn festivals ago, I, together with all my relatives, kept shaking our heads in disbelief as my baby brother kept on getting "zhong wan" (four fours in the dice or better) - the top prize - for seven consecutive turns! We kept on shaking hands with my baby brother after that, hoping that his luck could somehow be transferred to us. There was another instance when I was in third year high school. We had our class dice party and were only playing a few turns when my classmate rolled the dice and got an extremely rare six fours! That was out of six dice, the best combination possible in the game. Oh, such fond memories of people and their lucky hands.
Dice parties became more than tradition for me, it was a source of cool prizes, great fun, and unforgettable memories. Even more importantly, it continually reminds me of the richness and color of Chinese culture and makes me proud of the Chinese blood flowing through my veins.