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. There are a lot of traditions that Filipinos follow in the belief of ushering in a prosperous New Year. Many of these customs you may recognize as bearing Chinese influence.
FOOD ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Special food is prepared, but not as lavish as the Noche Buena feast on Christmas Eve.
Pancit (noodles) are cooked to signify long life, as are eggs signifying new life. Traditional delicacies made from malagkit (glutinous or sticky rice) like biko are prepared — that’s so good fortune will stick around throughout the year. Fish and chicken are not served because these animals scrounge for food, and we don’t want to have to scrounge for food in the coming year.
The fun in getting ready for New Year’s Eve is to come up with twelve (12) round fruits, each to signify a month of the year. 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.
NOISIEST TIME OF 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.
Filipinos spend the last days of the year vigorously cleaning everything, especially of dust. However, on the first day of the new year, you are not supposed to do any cleaning. No cleaning on New Year’s Day itself!
And don’t start the year off by spending money. Frugality on the first day sets the tone for wise money management in the coming year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!