Monday, December 28, 2009
Maligayang Bagong Taon!
New Year's eve celebration in the Philippines is quite different compared to other countries. We literally start the year with a bang!
Just a few days before New Year's eve, you will see lots of vendors selling different kinds of firecrakers. Actually, despite of the yearly ban on firecrackers (because of a number of accidents caused by firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have resulted in the loss of lives, limbs and properties), still many Filipinos see lighting of firecrackers as the traditional means to greet and celebrate the New Year eve.
December 31 is usually an unofficial public holiday in the Philippines, so we can prepare for the New Year eve celebration. It is a busy day for all families, me included, as I prepare food for the media noche. Most people are rushing in to buy firecrackers in preparation for the night celebration.
This is the time of the year when children have a good time blowing their plastic toy trumpets we called “torotot”. We create as much noise as possible to drive away bad spirit. Trumpets come in different shapes and sizes, colors and designs. I prefer this than buying fire crackers.
Children also enjoy stamping on their "watusi" - a kind of small firecracker that when rubbed against a rough surface and released, crackles into a little sparkwork.
At the strike of 12:00 midnight, the noise becomes defeaning, churchbells rings and firecrackers rules the sky. Adults and kids alike stood gaping in awe as we see the different firecrackers, blooming in the sky. The banging and booming rise to a climax which includes clanging of old pots and pans, jeeps, cars or motorcycle blowing their horns, ambulance sirens for full one minute at the countdown to New Year.
The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only meant to celebrate the coming of the New Year but are also supposed to drive away bad spirits.
Around 12:15 am, the noise stops and the air is filled with human voices and the family starts to eat a thanksgiving feast called Media Noche, it is believe that we should put as much food on the table so that next year we will have food all year round. Twelve round fruits should be on the table as it is a sign of prosperity for the next twelve months. There is also a midnight mass celebration to welcome the New Year and to thank God for all His blessings.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Boom! Bang! Kabloom!