The New Year is a symbol of a new beginning. So we try our best to let go of the bad stuff we have accumulated to make room for all the good stuff that the coming year will bring. Ringing in the New Year is also an exciting celebration for everyone.
Filipinos are also known to follow traditions to welcome the New Year, even if they are working abroad. After all, the New Year traditions are believed to bring prosperity and abundance for the family.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Filipinos follow traditions and practices to welcome the New Year. These traditions also reflect our heritage, so you might notice that we have similar practices with our neighboring countries. Some families have their unique practices and pass them down to the next generation. Which of these do you observe with your family?
- Wearing polka dots
Filipinos believe that wearing something round on New Year will bring prosperity since polka dots signify money and good fortune.
- Jumping at the stroke of midnight
If you want to grow taller, your wish will come true if you jump high on New Year’s Eve. Although this tradition applies to children, adults also join in the jumping and hope that they will grow an inch or two.
- Preparing Media Noche
Every New Year’s celebration consists of Media Noche. It is a Filipino tradition where family members, relatives, and even friends gather to eat a festive meal. All the dishes represent abundance and prosperity for the coming year.
- Collecting round fruits
Just like wearing polka dots, the round fruits are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. If you put these round fruits on your dinner table, you will bring good luck to your family. There is no hard and fast rule about the number of fruits you put on the table, but the traditional types prefer to collect up to 12 different types of round fruit. Some avoid putting fruits with thorns because it is believed to bring the conflict to the family.
- Eating sticky rice
Filipino families are known for their close-knit bond. To maintain closeness among family members, they eat sticky food such as bibingka or biko. Consuming such food also brings prosperity to the family.
- Eating pancit for long life
For Filipinos, all the important occasions including New Year’s Eve should have pancit or any dish with noodles to signify long life. It is also believed to bring in good health and good fortune.
- Avoid eating chicken and fish dishes
Some households avoid serving chicken and fish for the Media Noche since it is believed that luck will fly or swim away. These dishes are also are thought to symbolize scarcity, which we want to avoid experiencing in the coming year.
- Rice and Water Containers Are Full
Another tradition to ensure that the coming year will be abundant is to fill up the containers around the house. Before midnight, households also make sure that even the sugar and salt containers are also full. Doing so is believed to bring prosperity to their lives for the whole year.
- Collecting coins
One of the practices in some families is to fill their pockets with coins, and shake their pockets when midnight strikes. Another similar tradition is to leave coins around the house, even inside closets and tables. Leaving coins will bring luck and money to the household.
- Creating loud noise to drive away spirits
New Year’s Eve is not complete without the usual display of fireworks and firecrackers. This tradition comes from the belief that the loud noise will drive away from the bad spirits. But nowadays, most people would instead blow a horn or torotot to be safe. If you are based abroad, make sure to check with your neighbors if they will tolerate the loud noise.
- Opening doors, windows and turning off lights
Another tradition among Filipinos is to open the windows, doors, and even cabinets and drawers to welcome the New Year. It is also customary to turn on all the lights around the house. This tradition is believed to invite good fortune and positive vibes in the household.
- Settle all debts
It is ideal to pay off all debts before New Year since it is believed that the financial status at the stroke of midnight will be the same throughout the coming year. Otherwise, you can also put paper bills and coins in your pockets to welcome prosperity.
- No spending on January 1
Another belief is to avoid spending money on the first day of the new year. Filipinos believe that by not spending, they will be able to manage their finances.
Of course, we should also work hard to make sure that our traditions will not be in vain.
Video: New Year Countdown in Doha
If you are looking for ways to celebrate New Year, here is a video of our kababayans for the countdown: