Photo: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ
The Philippines may be a predominantly Catholic country, but the Filipino culture is full of superstitions that stem from popular symbolisms, widely-held folk beliefs, and traditions from Chinese and Spanish roots. New Year’s Eve is the biggest celebration that’s barraged with these superstitious beliefs — done mostly for harmless fun.
1. If you want to get rich, wear clothes with polka dots.
They represent money (coins) and will bring good fortune.
2. Serve and eat 12 kinds of round fruits on your New Year’s Eve dinner.
Each type of fruit represents the 12 months of the coming year. Round and circular shapes represent money, and therefore, good fortune.
3. For extra luck, eat 12 pieces of grapes within the first 12 seconds of the New Year.
If you can’t handle the pressure, having one round grape in your mouth by the stroke of midnight is good enough.
4. Scatter coins around the house.
On tabletops, inside drawers, and even on the floor — to channel good fortune.
5. To keep your wealth flowing, place brand new bills in your wallet and loose coins in your pockets.
Jingle them loudly at the stroke of midnight on January 1st.
6. Serve glutinous rice delicacies to make sure that your wealth stays intact and your family will “stick” harmoniously together throughout the year.
Classic choices include suman, a sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves, and puto bumbong, a purple rice cake steamed in cylindrical bamboo tubes called bumbong.
7. The color of undergarments you are wearing on New Year’s Eve can bring luck to specific aspects of your life.
Red is lucky for love, yellow is for happiness, white is for peace, pink is for harmony, green is for money, while blue is for health.
8. Make as much noise as you can, especially at the stroke of midnight, to drive away the evil spirits.
Paputok (fireworks), toy trumpets, horns, whistles, and any noisemakers you can get your hands on are highly encouraged. No, videoke doesn’t count, even if you belt out ‘til the wee hours of New Year’s Day. It will drive only your neighbors away.
9. Children are encouraged to jump as high as they can — 12 times, to be exact — at the stroke of midnight.
But only if they want to grow taller in the coming year.
10. Keep your doors and windows open to get rid of negative energy and allow good chi to enter your house.
If you’re wary about burglars, then windows, closets, and drawers will do.
11. Make sure all debts are settled before the end of the year.
Do not borrow or lend money during New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. It’s considered bad luck and could take you the whole year before paying off debts or getting your money back.
12. Turn on all the lights in your house.
To make sure that the coming year will be bright.
13. Eat pancit or long noodles, which signifies good health and long life.
This tradition also applies to birthday celebrations.
14. Do not clean your house on New Year’s Day.
This symbolizes sweeping away the good fortune that came in during the New Year’s Eve festivities.
15. The state of your house will reflect the state of your life for the next 12 months.
If you ring in the New Year with an abundant media noche (midnight feast) with your loved ones, it will signify prosperity and abundance of food throughout the year.