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New Year Beliefs and Customaries in the Philippines

In just a few days, we will be saying goodbye to 2010 and we will welcome 2011 with a bang (literally and figuratively).  I actually feel like it is 2011 already each time I wake up.  Yesterday, after office, I went to the market to buy a horn for my son.  He's only allowed to make noise on New Year for his safety.  And besides, I will not buy firecrackers so noise would be enough for us to celebrate it.

Aside from Christmas, the most awaited celebration in the Philippines is the New Year.  In fact, some families have more preparations for New Year than Christmas.  Aside from celebrating it with firecrackers and noise, Filipinos have other beliefs and customaries at New Year.


Photo from here.
You will never see a household without a basket of 12 rounded fruits.  It is actually not hard to find 12 rounded fruits in the Philippines because our country is a fruits basket in itself.  The most popular fruits during New Year are (1) watermelon, (2) gooseberry, (3) grapes, (4) orange, (5) apple, (6) kiat-kiat, (7) chico fruit, (8) pineapple, (9) longan, (10) papaya, (11) lanzones and (12) melon.  The12 fruits to represent one fruit per month is believed to bring prosperity all year round.  Round shape signifies money while fruits mean abundance.  The Chinese believes 13 is the lucky number and they prepare 13 fruits instead of 12.

Another customary associated with fruits is the hanging of 12 grapes at the main door of the house.  It will remain there until the next new year. It is believed to bring wealth inside the house.

Photo from here.
Aside from rounded fruits, clothes with polka dots (I even heard curtains with polka dots) will also bring good luck when worn during New Year.  My grandmother used to buy us polka dot clothes when we were still kids and she would fill our pockets with coins.  At the strike of 12:00MN, my sisters and cousins would shake our pockets while grandma shakes her wallet.  Aside from the shaking, we would also jump 12 times.  The jumping is believed to add height.  If you are not satisfied with your height, jump at New Year (satisfaction is not guaranteed).


Photo from here.
Another customary is the turning on of all lights inside the house and opening doors and windows during New Year.  It is believed to ward evil spirits and attract good ones to enter the house.  As you will notice, almost all customaries during New Year originated from Chinese beliefs.  It is not unusual because the Chinese have long been residents of the Philippines--even before the Spaniards came to invade.


Have you ever tried wearing green or red (or both) clothes during New Year.  It is also believed to bring good luck.  But I think the silliest of all the beliefs is having new stuffs in the house before New Year.  In this time of economic downfall, it is simply the silliest thing to do.  How can you attract wealth for the new year if you will waste your hard earned money of the current year to unnecessary stuffs?

Do you know other beliefs and customaries during New Year?

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