Filipino New Year’s Eve Traditions and Superstitions
If there’s anything Filipinos will never run out of, it’s our long list of traditions we vow to observe on certain occasions. We attend a nine-day series of dawn masses on Christmas, and we decorate the tombs of our loved ones who have passed away and prepare some food on All Saints’ Day. You would think these traditions only happen at the end of the year, but no, Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions are existent too.
Pinoys love to greet the new year with only the most delicious food and the loudest greetings. Here are the most commonly practiced Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions that prove it’s really fun in the Philippines.
Long-Observed Filipino New Year’s Eve Traditions
Scroll down for the video
1. Gather around the dining table for an sumptuous media noche
Media noche is what the New Year’s Eve is all about, but no meal is worth sitting through if you don’t have your family to share it with. That is why on New Year’s Eve, the whole bunch should gather together for that one delicious dinner. More than anything else, it is important that everyone is present to greet the new year.
2. Prepare 12 round fruits
Speaking of media noche . . .
No New Year’s Eve table is complete without a basket of twelve round fruits. Popular Filipino superstition has it that preparing 12 circular fruits is welcoming good luck for all 12 months of the year. Of course, who would not want a whole year of luck, right? That’s why the demand for these fruits as the year ends rises. Common round fruits Filipinos prepare include orange, apple, grapes, watermelon, and pomelo.
3. Cook foods that have sticky rice as the main ingredient
One of the most commonly observed New Year’s Eve traditions is cooking anything that uses glutinous rice as the main ingredient. The most famous recipes are biko and suman. Filipinos believe that sticky rice delicacies would maintain the unity between family members, that they would “stick” together no matter what, and so will luck for the rest of the year.
4. Feast on a bowl of pancit
Believing that it will bring long life to everyone in the family, Filipinos make it a point to have a bowl of pancit on the dining table on New Year’s Eve. This dish is often served at birthday parties too as a way of wishing the celebrant a long life.
5. Leave all the lights at home on
In hopes of having a brighter and better year, Pinoys turn on all the lights at home on New Year’s Eve and would leave it open for the rest of the day.
6. Open the windows and doors on New Year’s Eve
One of the Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions that continue to be widely practiced until now is leaving the windows and doors open on New Year’s Eve, as Filipinos believe this will help the family get rid of bad luck and bad energy. They also believe that doing so creates a pathway for good energy so it could enter the household.
7. Keep coins and bills in your pocket
Another practice that is believed to attract good fortune for the year to come is filling one’s pockets with coins and bills. Some shake their pockets, letting the coins’ jingling sound add to the noise created by child’s trumpets and party horns.
8. Create loud sounds on New Year’s Eve
This is one of those Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions that we just cannot not do. Some light up fireworks, but since this is dangerous for everyone, Pinoys prefer using party horns instead. There are also those who just grab the unused pots and pans they could lay their eyes on and bang them together to make loud noises. Filipinos believe loud sounds drive evil spirits away.
9. Wear polka-dotted clothes
To welcome good fortune, Filipinos wear polka-dotted clothes. The said pattern is popular among those who wish to have a more prosperous and fortunate year. Some believe wearing red is another way of welcoming good fortune.
10. Jump to get taller
No list of Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions is complete without the mention of the powerful jumping tradition. With an average height of 162 centimeters or 5 feet and 3 inches, it comes as no surprise that a lot of Filipinos wish that they were blessed with a few more inches. On New Year’s Eve, they jump as high as they can, as they believe this will help them get taller.
The first day of every year is one of the most fun and highly awaited days. These traditions might have origins that remain unproven, but they sure do help us open the next 365-page book we have to read—or live through—the most joyous way possible.