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New Year's Eve in the Philippines: The Undying Traditions

by: Angela Nacpil

Apart from the lavish preparation that people do for the celebration on Christmas Eve, the Media Noche or the feast to welcome New Year's Eve is just as important. Since the Philippines have inherited different traditions from different cultures, it's not a wonder to know these traditions are still being observed until this day.

New Year

Some of the traditions and superstitions that are still very much alive today:

Preparing 12 round and sweet fruits on New Year's Eve. They say that this is originally a Chinese tradition where you need to have at least 12 kinds of fruit on your table when you welcome the New Year. The fruits should be round and sweet and not sour or bitter. Having this is believed to bring you good fortune all throughout the year.

Welcoming the New Year with a loud, bright, and colorful fireworks is another tradition that Filipinos prepare for. According to common belief, the loud noise will drive away bad luck and the colorful firework would welcome fortune or prosperity. In fact there are specific types of colors and designs that brings different types of luck, it could be fortune, love, health, or fertility.

Other more subtle traditions observed during New Year includes wearing of a lucky color, either red or whatever the color of the year is, and wearing a polka dotted shirt or dress. The circles or dots stands for money or fortune. Aside from dressing up in dots, it is also believed that in order to attract more money, your pocket should have a significant amount when you welcome the New Year. So you would see kids with tons of coins in their pockets and adults with new and crisp paper bills in their wallets.

Opening all the windows and doors of your home to welcome good luck is also common during the celebration of this Philippine holiday. Making loud noises aside from the actual firework display is also very common. Another tradition observed by younger generations include jumping from a flight of stairs or jumping up and down when the clock strikes 12 for fast growth or to increase one's height.

While most of these are believed to be superstitions, there are also some Filipino traditions that goes beyond asking for good fortune or health. The tradition of pagmamano or giving respect to your elders is unique to the Filipinos and one of the practices that promotes good values to younger generations.

Nowadays, a lot of people choose not to observe some of these traditions and go for more simpler and intimate celebrations. People are becoming more realistic when it comes to acquiring health and fortune, and they become more practical in giving.

One example is celebrating the New Year with fireworks. Instead of buying and lighting their own, some people choose to go to a common place where a fireworks display is being done. Instead of the going through the tedious preparation of cooking dishes, people go to restaurants that offer New Year's specials instead. But whatever way we choose to celebrate the coming year, what's important is to celebrate it with family and people who make our years special.

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