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New Year's Eve in the Philippines

Updated: Jan 18

Let us take a memory lane trip on how we celebrated New Year back home.

A day before or morning of New Year's eve, everyone joins the already crowded market to buy food. Media Noche, or midnight feast, is something we don't take lightly. It must be good enough to reflect how we want the coming year to be.

In the Philippines, New year's eve (Bisperas ng Bagong Taon) is also a memorable holiday we celebrate with family or close friends. Traditionally, the family will visit the church and attend the year-end service. And if you do not, watch out for pingot! (Ear getting pulled) This is probably the most superstitious holiday that we have. There is a long list of guidelines on what to do and what not to do. Some may sound absurd, but they are still fun to know and tempt to do. And, of course, no one simply outsmarts their Lolo and Lola (grandfather and grandmother) about superstitious beliefs! And besides, In all ages, no one wants bad luck.

These beliefs were passed thru generations. And maybe they saw some correlations between those causes and effects. But who knows? It is your call.

Typical dishes include Pancit for long life. Refrain from serving chicken because their scratching and pecking for food are unlucky. (isang kahid - isang tuka). No fish, as well as it represents scarcity. The centerpiece will be twelve round fruits. The round shape is believed to attract money and fortune, and the twelve variant represents each month of the year. And we must always take advantage of our malagkit na kakanin (sticky rice/ glutinous rice), so good fortune will stick around throughout the year.

Before midnight, everyone must take a good bath to wash away all negativity and be a new you for the new year. Wear brand new clothes in bright, colorful with circular patterns like polka dots to attract good luck.

If you are vertically challenged, forget about your science because on this day, you can grow taller! by 00:00 AM, Jump as high as you can, and you will achieve additional height. That is why Filipinos are mostly tall. (wink)

Water and rice containers must be packed because it is always best to welcome the year abundantly so your whole year will be prosperous. It is also a widespread practice to fill your pockets with coins and shake your pockets on midnight. Some will scatter coins around the house. The next day, kids will be scramming and picking up coins.

A new year like everywhere else in the world is met with a BANG. People make loud noises with fire crackers, bamboo canons, torotot (horn), banging on pots, revving engines, and loud music. All that is in the belief that it will scare away bad luck and evil spirits.

As we say our new year prayer today, Let us also pray for our countrymen's safety for we all know that these festivities can also be dangerous. Aside from the number of countdown to midnight, we can't be blind to the number of firecracker-related injuries reported on the news. Worst are the stray bullet victims from irresponsible gun owners.

The Philippines is very colorful in culture. With all the influences we had from Chinese, Hindus, Malays, Spanish, Japanese, Americans, and the rest of the world, we came up with unique and vibrant culture. With all the hurdles we had in history, it is not a surprise that we are receptive to any ideas that may bring good fortune or improve one's life.

Share with us where this memory trip brought you!

Maligaya at masagang bagong taon sa inyong lahat!

(Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone!)

-Philippine Association of Beaumont Texas

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