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Filipino New Year's Eve Tradition: Welcoming The Good Fortune

Updated on April 18, 2014

Christmas and New Year are the two biggest most awaited holidays of the year. It is also one of the most exciting holidays of the year with the fireworks display and the New Year's countdown. And if there's something else I look forward to on New Year's Eve, that's the tradition we have been doing to welcome good fortune. And it was fun too. We've been doing this since I can remember and of course, of all the years, there are those few that I wouldn't forget and I would share some tidbits of that in here. So how do Filipinos celebrate New Year and what are the New Year's Eve Tradition?

With the coming New Year, it reminds me of past years on how we had celebrated the changing of the year and the New Year's Eve tradition our family always do that is believed to help attract good fortune.

I had watched my mom and dad every year of making sure we have enough rice on our rice dispenser. Rice is our staple food and I remember there was this one time, a day before the New year's Eve and mom found out we are almost out of rice. Dad went to nearby Ralphs to get rice. Back then I didn't knew about the rice superstition on New Year's Eve so I asked why. I mean we still have enough for a couple of days though but why the need to fill the dispenser?

Having enough rice on New Year's Eve: The household will have enough food or will be fruitful for the coming whole year.

Do you gather 12 round fruits on the table on New Year's Eve?

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And the other thing that I consider fun to do is hunting 12 round fruits ( I know others do the 13 fruits.) Just this past days we had already started collecting this round shape fruits so we only have to worry about 3 or 4 as the day of the New Year's Eve comes closer. Just today, I'm lucky to find blackberries on the 99 Cents Store, two more to go and the 12 fruits would be complete.

What are those 12 round-shape fruits to complete the 12 months of the year? (For those who might want to try this and also for those who does this but still hasn't completed the fruits.)

* apples

* honeydew

* watermelon

* cantaloupe

* grapes

* persimmon

* raspberry

* blueberry

* oranges

* kiwi

* longan

* pear

The 12 round fruits symbolizes each month of the year. And completing the 12 fruits attracts good fortune or prosperity for the family.


And this another fun one that the family or the children will enjoy is what I call money hunting game. I don't know if anybody else do this on New Year, but if you don't you might want to try this one.

It's been years ago and my brother and I we're both in grade school when dad decided to hide paper bills and coins all over the house for fun, to make our New Year merrier as it was just the three of us (we're still in the homeland while mom is here in the States.) And guessed what? The activity cheered us up and I still remember it up to this day. And since then we started doing it every New Year's Eve.

Scattering different denominations of money on the doorstep invites prosperity to come. And we usually leave it there until the following day.

And for the fun of it, like I said, the money hunting game. Where a family hides coins and paper bills on areas of the house and let kids find it. Sure would make them happy, an extra money for their piggy bank or for some things they might want to get for themselves.

"I welcome the New Year. And wish that 2012 carries with it  any negativity as the year changes. I see this home in light, health, and love."
"I welcome the New Year. And wish that 2012 carries with it any negativity as the year changes. I see this home in light, health, and love." | Source

And this one, I learned from my mom years ago. One New Year, when the clock was about to strike twelve, she went to every room of the house and turned on the lights. And what was that for?

The answer I got, turning all the lights on when midnight was about to strike symbolizes light in the home. And that the home and everyone in it would be at peace and in health. It also welcomes the New Year and drives away evil spirits and negativity from the past year.

And for those who likes wearing red and polka dots clothes, New Year would be a good time to wear one.

With the red clothes or polka dots, we also put coins and paper bills in our pockets, chinking the coins as midnight strikes. Another way of attracting good fortune to come for the New Year. And the red color? That is, for good luck.

And along with the money on the front door and turning all the lights on, we would open the front door on New Year's Eve. That is to welcome good fortune that the New Year brings.

Doing so would welcome some cold air into the house, so we only leave the door open for a few minutes after midnight. Last year, I took the time to look outside if I could see some fireworks, but I don't remember seeing some. On the good side, less fireworks means less injuries.


Fireworks has been a big part of Filipino New Year celebration in the Philippines. All kinds of fireworks would be seen on the market for Christmas and New Year. And despite the warnings of serious injuries accompanied with using fireworks, people still cannot be weaned from using it.

I had spent many Christmas and New Year in the homeland and seen the beautiful firework displays. Locals would buy fireworks on the market that they would used to greet the new coming year. It is indeed a beautiful sight watching the fireworks. The sad part is, the injuries and sometimes loss of lives that comes with using the homemade fireworks, or the kids and those that are drunk that chose to messed around with it.

The lighting of fireworks has been a way of welcoming the New Year and is believe to drive away evil spirits and bad luck. Any kind of noisemakers is used to welcome the year aside from the firecrackers. I had seen drivers dragging empty cans with their vehicles on the road, pans and pots are also used to make noises, and the still famous and safe noise maker, the torotot (trumpet specially for New Year.)

And as midnight strikes, kids are encourage by their parents or any elders to jump for them to grow taller.

And for those who doesn't want to lost any good fortune they might have gotten, do not do house cleaning or sweeping on New Year's day. All the cleaning must be done before the holiday. And do not spend too much or don't spend at all, an empty pocket on New Year's day could mean inadequate money for the whole year.

Happy New Year to all of us!


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    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Avian :) I'm more into white rice but dad prefers brown rice. :) Love fried rice!

      @ drbj:

      Yup, did all of those ^-^' And stayed really late thou sleepy.


      Oh the cold weather. We only had the door open before midnight strikes and closed it after that. The cold air wasn't welcome ^-^' Philippines would be adorn with colorful lanterns, we call "parol" at Christmas season. There's even a lantern festival held every year. Lanterns are big part of the Filipino Christmas.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

      Always interesting precy to hear of the customs of other countries. Looking at the customs you mention, all are charming. I think though in the West, if leaving money on the doorstep became commonplace, it would sadly all be gone in the morning, while opening the door - even a little - would be rather too cold an option for many! Mind you, I am sure we could all happily adopt the tradition of not doing any house cleaning after a late night on New Years Eve!! :-)

      I wonder do they have Chinese lanterns in the Philippines? I always think they are much more attractive and tranquil than the crash-bang of fireworks.

      Thank you for another interesting insight into Filipino life. Voted up. Alun.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, precy, for this interesting New Year's tradition information. Just checking to see: are you wearing red? Or something with red polka dots? Do you have all 12 fruits in the house? Is there money on the doorstep? Are all the lights on? And don't forget to clink coins in your pocket at midnight. Happy New Year - just remindin' you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is fantastic for the holidays. I like rice, too, and use it for a number of things. It is sure one of my staples, especially brown rice. Thanks for the lesson in Filippino tradition.