Thursday, January 1, 2009
Celebrating the New Year sans tradition.
Am I not as Filipino as I use to be? I grew up believing and practicing the Filipino New Year traditions and beliefs, but as the year passes I become less and less traditional. Maybe the hard time had made me more prudent that’s why I did not spend money in making sure that this tradition were met.
So what are they?
Ok, New Year will never be New Year without the fireworks. In fact it is quite unimaginable to meet the New Year without it as they are believed to drive away bad spirits and bad luck. But since they have become expensive I opted to buy paper trumpets instead, for only P20 rather than spending P600.
Filipinos also believe that displaying rounded fruits on the table will make for a “fruitful” year. But not just one type of round fruit, but thirteen of em’! They say it will bring good luck and prosperity. Well as you know, for the Chinese, 13 is a lucky number and round objects resemble coins or money. But what fruits do I have in my table last night? As far as I can remember I had 3 oranges, 4 apples, 3 pears, grapes and kiat-kiat and lots of banana. Yes, only five round ones and I am seven fruit short. So what? I have been putting 13 fruits on my table the past years and so far it didn’t bring in the luck I have hoped for.
Eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight (one for each month of the year) is also said to bring wealth and luck. But I lost count, so does that mean I will have more money because I think I have gobbled 15.
Still on having round-shaped things around, Filipinos also believe that wearing polka dot clothes will attract good luck and hopefully money in the coming year. My goodness, polka dots were in vogue during the 60s, and I haven’t bought one since I graduated college. Is luck more important than fashion?
Another tradition is to make sure that the house is well-lighted when New Year comes to invite good luck in every corner of the house. They say we ought to open all windows to allow good spirit to enter the house. But since I am just renting this place and haven’t really felt an affinity to it, I opted to close the windows to prevent the smoke from getting in lest my boys will develop asthma from enhaling them. And to make sure that no stray firecrackers will get inside our rooms.
Of course, the highlight of New Year are the foods - lots and lots of them! Tradition dictates that Filipinos should have round – shaped dishes, fish to avoid scarcity, egg and noodles for long life, glutinous rice for luck to stick around. And they say NEVER ever serve chicken because it signifies hunger and scarcity. Well I didn’t, because the last time I check the fridge, I see no chicken in there. But I accepted the arroz caldo a neighbor gave me. Yes we did have plenty of food in our table last night courtesy of my neighbors. Now, I am beginning to like them more.
Another Filipino tradition is jingling change in your pocket at the start of the New Year as they say this will make your money grow.
Oh, sure I did this one as that’s all I have now in my pocket – coins.