• PABT

New Year's Eve in the Philippines

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Let us do some trip in memory lane 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 foods. 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 special holiday that we celebrate together with family or close friends. Traditionally, everyone in the family will visit church and attend 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 still fun to know and tempting to do. And of course, no one simply outsmart their Lolo and Lola (grandfather and grandmother) about superstitious belief! and besides, In all ages, no one wants bad luck.

These beliefs were passed thru generation. And maybe at some point, they saw some correlations on those cause and effect. But who knows? It is your call.

Typical dishes includes Pancit for long life. Refrain from serving chicken because their scratching and pecking for food is unlucky. (isang kahid - isang tuka). No fish as well as it represents scarcity. 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 never miss out our malagkit na kakanin (sticky rice/ glutinous rice) so good fortune will stick around throughout the year.

Before midnight, everyone must took a good bath to wash away all negativity and be 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 full because it is always best to welcome the year abundantly so your whole year will be prosperous. It is also a popular 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 picking up coins.

New year like everywhere else in the world, is met with a BANG. People makes loud noises with their fire crackers, bamboo canon, torotot (horn), banging on pots, revving engines, and loud music. All of that in 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 this festivities can be dangerous as well. Aside from number of countdown to midnight, we cant be blind on the numbers of firecracker related injuries reported on news. Worst are the stray bullets victims from irresponsible gun owners.

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