How Filipinos celebrate New Year
There are many ways to get to know a culture. In the Philippines, many superstitions, customaries, and folk beliefs are associated with New Year’s Eve and New Year.
Much of these customaries have resulted from pre-colonial folk beliefs and Chinese influences that have been passed from generation to generation. The Chinese have long been trading in the Philippines even before the Spaniards arrived so it is no wonder that their own beliefs and traditions have been embedded in Filipino culture.
Although these can be considered superstitions only, many Filipinos to this day practice them as a way to give respect to old customs and as a way to ensure a prosperous new year ahead.
This coming 2014, do not be surprised to see your Filipino friends participating in these unique customs. Better yet, why not join them!
Eat pancit. Filipinos often serve and eat pancit (long noodles) during New Year’s Eve and New Year. They believe that eating long noodles guarantee a long life head. Though this custom originally came from the Chinese, many Filipinos have reinvented the tradition and replaced pancit with western alternatives such as spaghetti and other kinds of long noodle or pasta.
Jumping twelve times. To increase their height, children are often advised by the elderly to jump twelve times at midnight before New Year’s day. Each jump symbolizes growing an inch or a centimeter taller every month.
Leaving all the windows, doors, furniture and even wallets open during New Year’s Eve. In doing so, good fortune is believed to enter and make them wealthy in the coming year.
Wearing polka dots. Wearing anything round signifies prosperity.
Banging pots and pans. Making loud noises is a good way to scare evil spirits away. This is why Filipinos like to bang their pans, honk their cars, light up firecrackers, play loud music, and sing karaoke publicly.
Eating puto (rice cakes). Eating delicacies made from sticky rice is believed to make good fortune stick as well.
Not cleaning anything! Cleaning may sweep away the good fortune arriving on New Year’s day.
Opening all the lights inside the house, to ward off evil spirits.
Preparing twelve round fruits on the table. Each fruit will represent a month in the coming year. Roundness means monetary prosperity while the fruits mean abundance.
Do not buy anything on 1 January at all. How you use your money on the first day of the year will predict your general money management throughout the year. Not spending will mean you will be able to save more money and prosper. So be frugal!
Because of the changing times, many people forget or do not follow these customs anymore. Most find it a waste of time since good fortune does not always happen. Yet for many Filipinos who follow the traditions, they see nothing wrong about wearing polka dot dresses or even eating long noodles. After all, they are just opening themselves to the possibilities of receiving additional luck and good fortune.