In 14 hours (as I write this), Philippines will be celebrating New Year - the biggest holiday celebration the country ever do every year! To give you an idea how big of a deal this holiday is, a tongue in cheek remark from this blogger says it best:
"For those of you that love homemade fireworks displays, the kind that are sure to blow off a few fingers, the Philippines sets off an inferno every NYE. While we hoard holiday hams and champagne, Filipinos ready themselves for the fiery celebration by stocking their homes with explosives..."
I admit, this have every truth to it. Growing up in the Philippines, I have my share of fiery adventure hoarding these dangerous firecrackers and fired a few, no, a lot, of them back in the days. To say, we set the streets ablaze during this time is an understatement! After the inferno dies down, the entire country is heavy and thick with smoke you can hardly see the person next to you. Our own version of man-made fog! It's also the time of the year where firecracker-related injuries humanly possible, even death is at its highest.
But there's more to this fire-blazing holiday that is as crucial as the firecrackers.
If we have superstitions that go with the food we serve during new year, bet on it, there is also something ritualistic that goes on the hour we welcome new year.
These are the top 5 wacky and silly things we do at the strike of midnight on New Year:
1. We jump as high as we can!
It is believed that jumping as high as you can 12 times, guarantees that you will "gain" height! Young children and individuals with very "short" stature are the biggest fans of this superstition. And if you want to know, yes, I have done it quite a few many times! And no. I don't think I jumped high enough through those years.
2. Clang Metal Pots, Pans and covers
Just like firecrackers, creating loud noise at the strike of midnight helps to ward off evil spirits that come to bring you bad luck throughout the year. But back then, it was just fun adding to the already noisy surroundings. It's one of those days you can create a riot and your parents are OKAY with it.
3. Put tons of coins in your pockets and new peso bill in your wallets
Having lots of coins in your pockets and rattling them in welcome to new year, signifies attracting good fortune for you throughout the year. This goes with putting new peso bills in your wallet. Who doesn't want that?
4. Clean ALL possible mess
A clean house and room during new year means a clean house and room throughout the year. That simple. In opposite, if you don't clean before then, you'll have a filthy, messy house and room all year! I guess that scared the heck out of us because every year, we clean our rooms like crazy. Now, if you ask me, I think this was a ploy to get us kids to clean the house!
5. Polka Dots
Wearing apparel with polka dots is the biggest fashion trend on new year. Polka dots signify "moolah" or in superstition lingo, prosperity. So, every possible polka-dotted piece of clothing is worn that day. To those who opt not to wear the obvious ones opts for the hidden, but I will not tell you that polka dot bikinis fly off the shelf like hot pancake prior to new year.
Cruela d'vil would have loved this time of the polka-dotted year. 100 times fashionista over!
Me, I sure miss those days past. What fun memories it have been. Now, I celebrate new year's eve with my family the American way - that is to patiently wait for that big illuminated ball to drop each year! Can it be more boring? Le sigh.
Happy New Year! Or as we say it in my language, Manigong Bagong Taon!
Don't forget the Pancit!