The Philippines is a country with diverse cultures and traditions. One of the most important holidays in the Filipino calendar is New Year, which is celebrated with great fanfare and celebration. Although there are many similarities in the way that different families celebrate New Year, here are also some unique traditions that set Filipino New Year apart from other countries.
Have a Media Noche feast
On New Year’s Eve, families and friends gather to celebrate and enjoy a feast at midnight, which is appropriately called “Media Noche” (the Spanish term for “midnight”). This feast typically includes a variety of dishes, such as lechon, pancit, and fruit. The round shape of the dishes and the fruits symbolize prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. is another tradition Filipinos like to do during New Year’s. Eating sticky rice is thought to bring more wealth and prosperity while eating pancit canton (a type of noodle dish) symbolizes a long life.
Set off fireworks and make noise for good luck
Like in many other Asian cultures, Filipinos believe that making loud noises and setting off fireworks during the New Year can drive away evil spirits and bring good luck for the coming year. On New Year’s Eve, families and friends often gather to set off fireworks and make as much noise as possible. This can include banging pots and pans, blowing horns, and setting off firecrackers. The louder the noise, the better.
Wear polka dots for good fortune
The round shape of the polka dots symbolizes coins and wealth, so the more polka dots a person wears, the more luck and prosperity they are thought to attract. This tradition is often observed by wearing clothing or accessories with polka dots, such as a polka dot dress or a polka dot scarf. It is also common to see homes and businesses decorated with polka dots during the new year.
Jump up and down at the stroke of midnight
Children are encouraged to jump up and down at the stroke of midnight. It’s believed that the higher they jump, the taller they will grow in the next year.
Open doors, windows, and turn on all the lights
Many Filipinos turn on all the lights in their home so that the coming year is bright. They also open doors, windows, cabinets, and drawers to let good fortune in.
Fill your wallet with fresh peso bills
Filipinos believe that your financial state at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve will set the tone for the rest of the year. This is why many Pinoys fill their wallets with fresh bills. They also fill their pockets with coins and jingle them at the stroke of midnight to attract more fortune.
Fill up water and rice containers
Similar to the wallet-filling custom, many Filipinos also fill their water and rice containers on New Year’s Day. They believe that doing so attracts good fortune, so they will never lack anything in the coming year.
To clean or not to clean?
That is the question. Some say you should clean on New Year’s. Some say you shouldn’t. What gives?
Tradition actually says that it just depends on timing. Leading up to New Year, clean everything. This is supposed to make your home more harmonious, attracting luck. Plus, it’s always a good idea to start the year on the right foot.
But on New Year’s Day itself, you’re not supposed to clean anything. Doing so might sweep away the good fortune you attracted on New Year’s Eve.
How many of these traditions do you practice?