New Year Traditions in the Philippines

Happy New Year to all!

Nothing beats the Christmas celebration here in the Philippines. Well, nothing that is until you get to experience the New Year celebrations! One of the noisiest time (if not the noisiest) of the year, New Year is a much anticipated celebration here in my country. For one, Christmas day is like only 6 days away from New Year’s Eve. For another, December 30 here is a holiday (for our national hero). So you see, after December 25, we go to work like for only 2 to 3 days then it’s the New Year holidays! No wonder we think of New Year as a holiday attached to Christmas.

This hub is all about the New Year traditions in the Philippines. Some of these traditions may be old (and may be considered outdated). Some are based on (superstitious?) beliefs. And still others are based on pure positive thinking.

A 10,000 - round Judas Belt (
A 10,000 - round Judas Belt (


Oh no, we’re not contented with the commercialized, often-watched fireworks display in the television or cable channels during New Year’s Eve. We’re talking about pure, unadulterated, fun fireworks that will really drive you nuts with all the noise and the smoke. Fireworks have become as much part of our New Year’s tradition as the Simbang Gabi (dawn mass) is a Christmas tradition. Despite the fact that injuries and even death happen due to fireworks, Filipinos still continue to buy and use them. For some, there is the belief that the noise and the smoke will drive the evil spirits away and ensure a good new year for that person. For others, it’s just simply the joy of seeing all those bright lights and looking up in the bright skies.

Fireworks here have a local flavor, meaning we have our own. We have the Sinturon ni Judas (Judas’ belt) which is like a belt filled with all those firecrackers. There’s the Sawa or snake, which is like the belt but longer and with more firecrackers. This is the one used during the countdown because it really lasts for several minutes. There’s the bawang or triangle which, when lit, gives out a loud bang (just make sure you throw it before it does this or else, you’ll lose your fingers with it). We also have the (relatively harmless) firecrackers like the roman candle and the fountain (they just give out light but no loud sound).

Making Loud Noises

For those Filipinos who are not fans of fireworks, there are alternative noise – makers (New Year is really not complete without the noise). So what do we use? Trumpets (they’re hot items during this time), pots, pans, whistles, car horns, anything that will make a lot of noise. Or you can turn up your radio or MP3 full blast and have the songs  blaring at top volume.

the fruits (
the fruits (


No hub of mine about the Philippines will be complete without food. We celebrate the New Year’s Eve by sharing a midnight meal with our family (called the Media Noche). This feast symbolizes family union and celebration. The food varies. Some serve an all-out feast. Some serve simple meals. It’s really not the food that counts but the atmosphere and the camaraderie during the meal.

There is one tradition related to food and this is serving 12 (or is it 13) kinds of round fruits during New Year celebration. Each fruit represents one month in the coming year and the round shape is believed to bring good luck for that month. This is a tradition that is still being followed up to now. Filipinos are still so much into this that prices of round fruits during Christmas season goes up because of the demand.


Let’s see. What to wear during the New Year’s Eve celebrations? How about clothes with polka-dots on them? There is the belief that wearing clothes with polka-dots will bring lots of money (or prosperity) during the coming year.

If you want to increase your good luck, make sure that all your pockets and wallets have money on them. This will ensure that you will not have empty pockets the rest of the new year.

There is the belief too that you should open all doors, windows and lights during New Year’s Eve (just be prepared for the smoke from the fireworks to filter in) to invite good luck in your home.

Lastly, when you celebrate the coming of the New Year, make sure you have a happy smile on your face. Failure to do so will mean you will have 12 months of unhappiness during the coming year. Just kidding, I made this up. Happy New Year to everyone!

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Happy New Year Everyone! 66 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

I so enjoyed your hub hearing about how other countries celebrate. Thank you.

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

You guys really go all out! I'm almost jealous with the celebration and festivities of the Filipino tradition, Emie! Maybe one day I'll crash one :D Thanks for another great and festive hub!

Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 7 years ago from South Africa

Sounds Great Emi

Whether its Christmas or New Year - or a all-in-one - you people really know how to get the most out of it.

Thanks for sharing!

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Hello. It's always a pleasure to write about my country especially when I get appreciative readers like you.

Hey dohn, when you get published, come over here and launch your book / novel here. Then you'll get to see my country firsthand :).

Yup Laura, we know how to celebrate, all this despite the fact that we are a poor country. You're welcome and thanks for stopping by.

shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

Oh, tell me more about the food in there :) My favorite part of any celebration. I was invited recently to a filipino welcoming party and all I was concerned about was the pansit and the sompaluk :)...

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Shamel, LOL, pansit and sampalok eh. You've been converted to Filipino cuisine. I wrote a hub about food here and two more about native desserts. You might want to check them out but if you do, be prepared to become hungry :).

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

I like the 12 fruit tradition, it makes my mouth water to think about it and it is certainly healthier than the French tradition of 12 (heavy) desserts!

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

12 desserts! Wow, now my mouth is watering. :) Thanks for dropping by Princessa.

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create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

I enjoyed reading about your Christmas and New Year festivities in the Philippines. I especially liked the description you gave of the polka dotted outfits and those adorned with pictures of money. Your photo of the delicious fruits was so inviting. I wish I could be there to experience everything you mentioned. Thank you for sharing.

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mtsi1098 7 years ago

Well once again I am amazed by the Philippines culture and traditions...I think this is great...So I will put on my polka-dot clothes, a smile and get ready for Media Noche...thanks

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

hi emievil, miss the Philippimes really, but I still do all the 'good luck' things to do...Happy new year to you and your family, May your wishes for yourself and your loved ones will come true this coming year of the tiger!

good job here as always! Maita

GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Our new year's celebration is perhaps the noisiest and happiest, I love firecrackers and prefer the whistle bomb... Great HUB emie...

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

@Maita, thanks. Happy New Year to you too.

@GH, how're you doing? I definitely agree on the noisiest and the happiest. Thanks for dropping by.

GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

I'm fine wow, I'm doing well with my hubs and extremely happy about it, I was a featured Hubber three times this week one of great accomplishment I have here and so thankful to it though. I'm getting noticed and exposed nyahahaha... How is it going emie... BTW some of your capsules (video clip I think) in this hub seems broken...

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks. I'll check it out.

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HealthTip 7 years ago

Really enjoyed reading this and hey many congrats on your 400 fans !!

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Art :).

Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

For promoting our beloved country, the Philippines, about traditions we stick to, to celebrate the New Year, here's an outstanding ovation and rounds of applause for you emie!

Many heroines are still undiscovered, but you will be, soon. Keep on hubing, I love them all.

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Ms. Lita :).

Mama Sez profile image

Mama Sez 7 years ago from Canada

Hi Emievil. I grew up in Luzon but relocated in Davao City. Ways to celebrate are the same except for the fireworks which are prohibited. But I am thankful because we feel safe on the road. You are right about the 12 fruits and completing them is quite a challenge but I see to it that I have them on the table on New Year's Eve. This also starts the year healthy because we have to eat all those fruits afterward, LOL.

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Uhm and jumping up and down when the clock strikes twelve to add inches to your heaight - or this only applies to the vertically challenged? Hahaha Cool hub, you've covered everything!

O ingat sa paputok! :D

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hey Mama Sez, are you related to Papa Sez? I'll be going to Davao City this week :). Davao has got to be one of the quietest if not the quietest place during New Year. I know about the ban and I admire Mayor Duterte for it :). Thanks for your comment.

@Cris, jumping up and down? LOL, I forgot about that. Used to do it when I was a kid, now no more (I might grow, not vertically, but horizontally LOL).

Paputok? heheheheh, I don't use paputoks anymore. Nagsawa din. Used to have the trumpilyo and the fountain before as my father is from Bocaue, Bulacan :).

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

You might not if you watch yourself during Noche Buena and Media Noche! But I won't blame you pag lamon gagawin mo. Malamang ako din! Hahaha

Btw, I noticed our avatars...aren't we the most Christmassy hubbers around or what?! Ha! Nothing beats us Filipinos when it comes Christmas!

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

LOL I plan to do the lamon. Just finished our office's Christmas party and it's one food after another down my stomach :D.

Yup, we Filipinos rock when it comes to Christmas :). Hmmmm, maybe I should look around for a picture of a paputok for my New Year Avatar :D. Got any ideas?

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I suggest you choose a fountain - it's a lot safer and much more colorful! :D

Hmmm I just might do that also...thanks for the idea! :D

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Yep, I agree with you there. You're welcome :D.

Mama Sez profile image

Mama Sez 7 years ago from Canada

Yep Emievil, we happen to have the same children, LOL :-)

Mama Sez profile image

Mama Sez 7 years ago from Canada

How long will you be staying here in Davao? If your schedule will permit meeting us for coffee or snacks, it will be our pleasure. Please let me know.

obetosama555 profile image

obetosama555 7 years ago

Happy New Year in advance.

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Melinda L. Fisher 7 years ago

This was a very interesting hub on your traditions in the Philippines!! I have some new and dear friends who live there and I was wondering how they would celebrate. I can ask them now if they will be doing the Media Noche.:) Thanks. This was very educational for me...a US citizen. We really do not have many differences between us. Thank you, friend. Good luck with your hubbing. :) I am very interested in learning more about your culture,foods and traditions there since I have dear friends there. I look forward to more educational/interesting reads from you! =)

yvonne16 profile image

yvonne16 7 years ago from Phillipines

yey..good thing someone here is so proud of our Filipino traditions in celebrating New year! Happy New year kababayan!

beth811 7 years ago

There is this also banging of pots and pans as one of new year's traditions here. I, myself at the strike of 12 MN tossed the coins up in the air and the children who were waiting for me to do that scrambled for the coins.

Good hub, emi. Thanks for sharing our new year's taditions.

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

@Melinda, it's always nice to meet someone like you who appreciates our culture. Thank you very much for your great comment and for reading my hub.

@Yvonne, yep I'm proud of it. There's no New Year like our New Year here :).

@Beth811, you're welcome. I forgot about the pots and pans :).

JEAN C.MONDARES 7 years ago

hi mga mga dabawenyos happy new year to everyone,laking davao pero 4 years na ako sa abu dhabi,i mis christmas & new years IN DAVAO hope ksama ko family ko nxt x-mas at new years.HAVE A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR & GOD BLESS MGA INDAY AT DODONG...................JEAN C.MONDARES

Kudlit profile image

Kudlit 7 years ago from Laguna

Great Hub. Sharing our traditions with the rest of the world.

What about Tikoy?

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

emievil, I enjoyed reading about the New Year traditions in the Philippines. I'd never heard about the fruit thing, or the association between good luck and round things (or having money in your wallet/pocket). Happiest of New Years to you and your family.

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Jean.

Kudlit, that will come during the Chinese New Year :).

@Lisa, we practice those a lot here :). Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year too.

mina 7 years ago

Love this post...I was just browsing to see how many fruits do we need for new years eve (wasn't sure if it was 12 or 13) been asking around, some says it's 12 and some says it's 13. We used to do it back home. It's been years (dont remember how many) I wanted to do it again since it's my son's 1st New Year, just wanted him to have that same tradition I used to have.

Loved reading it....

May you and your readers have a prosperous 2010.

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Mina. Actually, I've seen 13 fruits also although we stick to just 12. I'm glad to see you're reviving this tradition. May you and your family have a blessed new year.

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 7 years ago

emievil, Delightful hub! I enjoyed learning about you wonderful traditions!! Great fireworks as well that gave this hub a real bang! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

You're welcome DeBorrah. Happy New Year!

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ralwus 7 years ago

Oh you make me jealous of all the fun you people have over there. LOL What a life it must be. Thanks for sharing so much of your culture. May you be blessed with a great 2010

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

LOL hey CC, you're welcome to come here anytime. We have a simple but happy life here, definitely. Thanks for visiting my hub. May you have a happy and prosperous new year!

Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 7 years ago from Georgia USA

Great article, I just wish I would have read it three days ago :) My son is from the Philippines and I would have loved to bring in some of the traditions your writing about here for him. We try really hard to make sure he knows his heritage. It just sounds wonderful. Happy belated New Year to you and your family.

emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hey Ladybird, don't worry about it. Is he the one in your avatar?

cbris52 profile image

cbris52 6 years ago

Loved reading about your Countries traditions... I've always wanted to visit!

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

That's what I like best about Hub Pages; this type of hubs from which we can learn about other cultures and traditions and find out how similar we are in all that diversity. Thank you

emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines Author

You're welcome. Thanks for the visit Petra.

iluvceleb 6 years ago

in spain, some ate grapes before new year's eve

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DavidLivingston 6 years ago

This is a good hub. Thank you for sharing.

Manasidas profile image

Manasidas 6 years ago from Kolkata

Nice and interesting hub. keep it up and now you can also have a look on it.

Dyquiangco, Lani L. 6 years ago

Hi, where can be the most romantic place in manila to celebrate the new year countdown for 2011? thanks

susannah42 profile image

susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

It's great to hear about traditions from other parts of the world. I wonder if they are interested in our customs and traditions.

FIVE STAR! 6 years ago

happy new yaer. to all of you. have a new great year!

Sir Frobisher profile image

Sir Frobisher 6 years ago

That is so impressive and I hope I'll be there sometime

arlene 6 years ago

emievil, happy new year to your and your love ones. I enjoyed reading your hub. I was telling my roommate how filipinos celebrate new year's and she won't believe me. So I asked her to google it. Thank you ang God bless.

emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines Author

To all who commented on this hub, thank you very much.

@arlene, glad i could help :). Your welcome.

Mary Hildegarde profile image

Mary Hildegarde 6 years ago from Philippines

This is why I joined Hubpages. So many interesting people and things to write about (I just joined and haven't started a Hub yet..) I got carried away with reading the hubs and comments. I'm a Pinay and proud to be one. Although your hub is a year old its still very relevant and true. Happy 2011 and wishing you all the best!!

kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Great hub! New Year in the Philippines is just so unique. What I like best about it is that it's really a time for family gathering. People do go back to their hometowns (which can be anywhere in the Philippines' 7,107 islands! :-) ) just for this occasion.

Pirot 5 years ago

Hi! Nice recollection of Christmas traditions in the country. But I think a correction has to be made. Explosive devices which you referred to like Sinturon ni Hudas and Sawa are not actually fireworks -- they are firecrackers.The colorful display of lights set in the skies are what constitutes fireworks (pytotechnics). Merriam Webster dictionary notes: Firecrackers - a usually paper cylinder containing an explosive and a fuse and set off to make a noise; Fireworks - a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions. Just a reminder. Thanks1 :)

evangeline palomares 5 years ago

Happy New Year to Everyone. even there is no new year celebration in Myanmar I still follows Filipinos Traditional Christmas & New Year with my Family.

christian john Dela Cruz 5 years ago

Here in philippines,we celebrated good things ...mentioned in the article......a Media Noche is a celebration which all the Filipino's shared all the foods they together,laugh together.and waiting the christmas and new year holding each hands...hospitable manner..

jaz 5 years ago

this is the best new year ever

boka 4 years ago

l always enjoy my xmass any were l go

moileagma 3 years ago

My partner and i employed to find at the top of existence yet lately I have accumulated a new weight.

Manuela Giorgi 3 years ago

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Truly loads of excellent data!.

You produced your stand pretty effectively!!

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