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How Filipinos Spend Their New Year’s Eve

man and woman holding sparklers An important Filipino holiday tradition is holding up sparklers and spending time with family and loved ones.

As one of the countries that follows the Gregorian calendar, the Filipino New Year holiday is observed on January 1st. This usually means family reunions, lavish foods, and a joyful atmosphere.

Some families might even spare no expense when it comes to food, ensuring each member of the family has a tupperware full of extra food to bring home for the following day. It’s their way of saying they care about you and it also saves you time and effort to cook a new meal.

Because the Philippines has been heavily influenced by other countries like Spain and China, they also ended up adopting several Chinese and Spanish beliefs and superstitions.

So if you end up exploring Chinatown during New Year’s, you’ll see lots of red lanterns hung around several establishments and buildings.

You’ll see fruit baskets in front of store displays and other specialty food products like tikoy, steamed dumplings, hopia, and lumpia. It’s even a holiday tradition for Filipinos to welcome the New Year by worshiping their patron saints.

Here’s what to expect with regards to how Filipinos celebrate New Year’s Eve:

Midnight mass

On New Year’s Eve and the following day, many Filipino families attend mass at church. They believe that by honoring Jesus and Mother Mary during the New Year, they will have divine protection for the rest of the year.

After mass, you’ll usually find plenty of street vendors selling puto, biko, and bibingka, which are different versions of rice cakes.

Media noche

Although it’s not as lavish as the Noche Buena Christmas feast, the media noche - also referred to as the midnight meal - has its own specialty. Family members gather under one roof - usually the home of the main head of the family, and spend time together.

A common superstitious dish served during the New Year’s Eve party is pancit (noodles), which symbolizes long life. Eggs signify new life, and traditional food like sticky rice represents good fortune to stick with you for the rest of the year.

Other specialty dishes include embutido (meatloaf), lechon (roasted pig), grilled fish, Filipino-style spaghetti, cake, and fruits. Some Filipino families also believe that the bigger the portion of the meat like lechon, the more prosperous the year will be.

Another Filipino tradition is preparing 12 round fruits. It’s a heavily influenced Chinese tradition that stuck around for decades. The Chinese associate 12 to be one of the lucky numbers since there are twelve months in a year and twelve animals in the zodiac.

The Chinese also believe that the round shape symbolizes eternity. And when combined with the lucky number 12, their fortune might multiply.

Playing with firecrackers

It’s common to see children and teenagers playing around with firecrackers on New Year’s Eve. Their screams of excitement are commonly heard as the night goes on. They especially enjoy playing with the dancing firecrackers called watusi, wherein you scratch them against concrete sidewalks or cemented floors for them to spark.

Filipino paputok (firecrackers) can be found in many shapes and sizes. They go by different unique names, like judas belt (string of firecrackers), super lolo, bawang, and so on.

Because there have been several serious accidents that resulted in grave injuries, or even worse, death, the government has decided to ban certain firecrackers from being sold on the market.

They urge local Filipinos to try safer alternatives like using pots and pans, coin banks, glow sticks, tambourines, and even playing loud music to mimic the sound of loud noises.

Singing karaoke

Karaoke is undeniably one of the integral parts of experiencing Filipino culture. It’s a pastime Filipinos enjoy to relieve stress from their jobs and responsibilities at home. And if it’s a special occasion, then don’t be surprised to hear a couple of houses belting out some holiday festive songs.

For some Filipinos, singing karaoke while drinking and eating is a good way to pass the time until the midnight activities begin. Some might even start a friendly music challenge to see who can get the highest score.

As the evening goes on, the music gets more festive and louder with everyone taking turns singing their favorite songs and enjoying the positive atmosphere.

So if you’re someone who isn’t afraid of singing in public and singing like there’s nobody listening, you might end up being cheered on by a crowd of enthusiastic people.

New Year superstitions

The New Year’s Eve celebration would be incomplete without practicing traditional Filipino New Year superstitions. This is a good way for older generations to pass down their culture and heritage to the new generation and relive the beliefs and practices of their ancestors.

By observing Filipino New Year traditions, it ensures the family will have a healthy and prosperous year.

Here are a few of them:

1. Opening all the doors and windows

To welcome good fortune into their homes, many Filipinos open their doors and windows. They believe the warm welcome will invite good and positive energy.

2. Making loud noises

The stroke of midnight sparks a lot of noise, and you’ll hear people banging on different pots and pans. Filipinos believe making loud noises at the end of the year scares away negative energy or evil spirits for the rest of the year.

3. Cleaning the house

A shared tradition found all over the world, cleaning the house is done by almost every household. By throwing out the old and removing stagnant energy in their homes, they can make space for positive energy and prosperity.

Welcome the New Year the Filipino Way!

happy new year sign Filipinos take part in several midnight activities on New Year’s Eve.

Every country has its own way of celebrating New Year’s and this includes the Philippines. At the end of the night, there is a grand fireworks display in and out of the city.

For many Filipino people, spending the New Year together with loved ones means remembering the major events that happened throughout the year and observing family traditions and customs.

So if you ever get invited to a Filipino family get-together, then don’t hesitate to join in on the Filipino New Year fun.

Do you have a special someone to spend the holidays with? If not, then why not consider international dating? There are several women abroad looking for love. All you have to do is meet them through our services and see if you can build a special connection. Good luck and Happy New Year!

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