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Living in the States for many years makes me nostalgic whenever I think about celebrating New year’s Eve. Even if you blend well with the Americans, you cannot get away with the Filipino traditions of celebrating New Year’s Eve. Filipino celebrations have this unique way that you will always miss wherever you are in the world. During New Year’s Eve, the Philippines have the noisiest and happiest celebrations.
Like any other Filipino families in the Philippines, Filipino – Americans still carry Filipino traditions in America. We welcome the new year with great food at our table; it is a feast; this is not because you want to splurge money, but this is part of Filipino traditions. It has symbolism that we value back when we are still a child. This also a Filipino way of thanksgiving for all the blessings they received from the past year.
These are the Filipino Traditions on How to welcome the New Year; others may seem funny, but this is the Filipino way of celebrating New Year’s Eve.
1.Putting 12 kinds of rounds fruits on the table: Fruits symbolize wealth and prosperity. You leave the fruits on the table and don’t eat them until the clock ticks on to a new year.
In America, Filipinos buy all these 12 fruits in most Asian and U.S grocery stores.
- 1. Apple
- 2. Pineapple
- 3. Kiwi
- 4. Mango
- 5.Table Grapes
- 6. Blueberries
- 7. Plums
- 8. Pears
- 9. WaterMelon
- 10. Orange
- 11. Pomegranate
- 12. Cantalope
2.Preparing and Eating Glutinous Delicacies such as Steamed Rice Cake; Kutchinta, and Tikoy: Filipino households always cooked native delicacies such as the glutinous steamed rice cake, kutchinta, and Tikoy. It symbolizes unity, oneness in the family, and our old folks said: fortunes will stick around with the family throughout the year.
Photo Credit to my sister Macel who made all these Filipino Delicacies
3.Putting Salt and Sugar, Rice Container on the table: Replenished your Salt Shaker and Sugar jar filled them up to the brim before new year’s eve. Salt and Sugar are essentials for seasonings, and rice is the staple food for Filipinos. Make sure these are replenished; it symbolizes abundance and will prevent the family from hunger and scarcity. Filipinos also believe that if you put rice on the table on new year’s eve, especially for the farmers, they will have bountiful harvests. I have heard this from my great-grandparents and my mom when we are still a child; they are gone for long years, but it is still on my head whenever we celebrate new year’s eve.
4.Eating Pancit or Bihon (a sticky noodle in the Philippines): Noodles symbolize long life, and as you welcome the new year, you wish all your loved ones good health and longevity.
5.Putting Cotton Balls on the Table: Cotton is a very lightweight material; for Filipinos, it reminds us that in life, we may have had a struggle and hardship, but we also believe that we can all endure this problem and bounce back, and become a robust and better person than before.
6.Wearing Polka Dots Clothes and putting coins in the pocket: Coins and cash are a symbol of prosperity; you need to have money in your pocket, as the clocks ticks to new year’s eve, make noise out of it to welcome the new year; these coins symbolizes good luck to homes and attracts wealth and financial luck to the family.
7. Fireworks: In the Philippines and all Filipinos, fireworks are a big deal. Family splurge money for fireworks and other noisemakers for new year’s eve. Sparkles and sounds bring joy to people, but apart from this, Filipinos believe that Fireworks cast out bad luck and evil spirits. Here in the states, specifically in the cold states, you cannot use fireworks, but instead, Filipinos use party horns, blowers, clashing of the lid to form sounds.
8.No Spending of Money at the Beginning of the Year: During the first day of the year, January 1. Filipinos refrain from spending money on anything; this tradition symbolizes to practice a frugal lifestyle and learn to manage finances.
9. Cleaning and Opening of Windows during New Year’s Eve: Clean home is a happy home. While Americans do spring cleaning, in the Philippines, you need to clean your house and open your doors and windows before the year change to welcome the flow of good energy into your homes. Unfortunately, in the cold states, you cannot open your doors and windows during this season.
10.Jump High as You want when the clocks tick to New Year: When we were a kid, our parents would tell us to jump high to grow taller. This has no significance at all, but Filipinos just do it anyway, just for fun! It just becomes part of the traditions.
11. Pay Your Debts before the Year Ends: This tradition is a good practice although it is hard to do because we usually spend money for the holidays to buy gifts and other things, Filipinos still try to pay debts, so at the beginning of the year, your finances will not be a heavy burden to your family.
12. Eat Together for Media Noche: Media Noche (literal meaning midnight, new year’s eve). Filipinos are family-oriented, and new year’s eve dinner is an essential part of welcoming the new year. All families gather to share the medianoche (midnight meal). In many Philippines neighborhoods, they close the street to eat, exchange dishes, and party all night long.
Every country around the world has different traditions and practices in welcoming new year’s eve. In Americans, the most prominent and well-known celebration is the Ball Drop in New York City, where family and friends gather to witness the new year. And for most people, attending Ball Drop becomes their family traditions.
Filipinos living in the States may be Americanized, but they still valued this tradition;. However, this has no spiritual significance; they just follow this tradition. You may believe it or not, but there’s nothing wrong with following your ancestors’ ancestors’ beliefs and superstitions through the ages.