Filipino traditions to welcome the New Year

The New Year has always been a countrywide celebration that is nothing short of fun, dynamic, and loud. Filipinos love to welcome the new year with as much fanfare as they can, partaking in traditions they believe will help in making the new year better, happier, and more bountiful for them. Here are some of those traditions:

1. Eating media noche

Filipinos love eating — but more than that, they love eating together with their families. New Year’s eve gives them that opportunity to celebrate, complete with an impressive spread to welcome the incoming year.

Roughly translated as “midnight,” Media Noche is a Filipino custom where family members, their relatives, and friends all gather together to eat and drink. The menu differs for every family but there will always be some food that remain a staple in every household such as pancit (long noodles), which represent good health and long life; and sticky rice, which represent tighter family bonds.

2. Having circles/round shapes everywhere

Filipinos and Chinese alike believe the round shape is a symbol of prosperity, so it’s common to see circles during New Year’s Eve. More often than not, you’ll see 12 round fruits displayed on the dining table (one fruit per month for a prosperous year) or people wearing polka-dotted clothes.

3. Jumping when the clock strikes 12

The most popular tradition that Filipino adults and kids do as soon as the clock strikes January 1. Jumping as high as you can is believed to be a way to help you grow taller in the new year — there’s no scientific explanation to support this belief, but it’s fun and exhilarating to do anyway.

4. Opening doors and keeping all the lights on

When the new year arrives, Filipinos would open all the doors in their houses to allow good energy and good fortune to come in, and turn on all the lights to welcome a brighter year.

5. Making loud noises to drive off evil spirits

Firework displays are a common sight in every country when they welcome the new year, but in the Philippines, fireworks light up the sky because it is believed loud sounds would scare off evil spirits that bring bad luck. Aside from this, Filipinos usually play loud music in the open, and use horns or toy instruments to produce ear-piercing noises.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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