December 30, 2015

New Year in the Philippines: More Than A Celebration

Philippine Flag on New Year's day / Photo: Manila Bulletin

And just like that, Christmas is done and over with. If I were in the Philippines right now, I probably would be beyond giddy like a little girl who can't wait for New Year to get here - soon and quick! If you were from the Philippines, guaranteed, you would be too! Well, it's no secret that New Year in the Philippines is like the equivalent of July 4th in the intensity of fireworks and over the top celebrations. It surpasses every major holiday celebrated in the country. New Year is the biggest bang bar none. It is afterall, the "last" hurrah for the current year and the first for the incoming year!

However, it's not just all about the fireworks that makes New Year in the Philippines the most anticipated party of the year. There's more to it than meets the eye...

The Delectable Food
Every holiday calls for specified dishes only readily available for the occasion at hand. New Year is no exception.  But here's the caveat: You must be prepared to wait until midnight - yes, midnight -  because that's when you get your celebratory midnight dinner or Media Noche. No reason to fret though in spite of your tummy growling for some nosh. It's simply worth the wait, I promise. In the end, you'll get to eat mouth-watering yumminess like the traditional Leche Flan shown below. Nom Nom.

Traditional Leche Flan / Photo: Wikipedia

Want to make it? Check the recipe here: Leche Flan

Also, head on over here: Discover how to Welcome the New Year with Traditional Filipino Dishes and to find out the Top 5 Must-Have Filipino Food To Welcome New Year to get your Filipino style new year party started.

Superstition Galore
Now a big party isn't a party if it doesn't come with some sort of holiday superstitions that's unique only to New Year. One of my favorites is jumping really high at the strike of midnight - with the hope of growing taller! That  may have worked just a bit because I found myself taller than those who used to be taller than me when I was younger. True or not, all that non-stop jumping paid off (feel free to insert humorous laughter here).

You can see the complete list of superstitions I (blindly, gullibly) participated in for the heck of it here: 5 Most Popular Superstitions Filipinos Do To Ring In New Year. Perhaps you can find a little inspiration, if not humor and fun, to help you ring in your own new year!

Super (Lethal) Fireworks
Unfortunately, there's an ugly side to New year in the Philippines. And this is the use of powerful firecrackers that's enough to blow up parts of your body to smithereens. I swear, it almost feel like there's war going on every year. With powerful firecrackers exploding like bombs and creating mild tremors in the surrounding areas each time one of them goes off! Yeah, war of the firecrackers. Sadly, in spite of this known risk, some people are simply unrelenting, stubborn (or stupid) and every year, continue to light up, more like blow up, these massively huge fireworks to welcome new year at the expense of losing a hand, limb, or worst, their lives at times. Like I said, it's like war.

However, this is what makes new year, new year in the Philippines and the people simply lives up to the tradition - even naught for worst. After all, it's more than a celebration.  It's a tradition.

The massive, highly-explosive Judah's belt or Sawa / Photo: Wikinut

To get acquainted with the rest of Judah's relatives, head on over here:  list of the firecrackers prohibited for sale and manufacture in the country. You probably couldn't believe your eyes! I can't blame you.

It has been ages since I experienced the revelry, the craziness, or insanity if you will, of a Philippine new year but it was also the best times of my life growing up! One I wish my child will experience once in her lifetime. It's part of her heritage and part of the world I grew up in. 

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year! And to my fellow Filipino in the Philippines:  Matiwasay at mapayapang bagong taon sa inyong lahat. Manigong 2016! (A safe and peaceful New Year to all. A Prosperous 2016!).


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