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New Year Traditions in the Philippines

Updated on July 15, 2011

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 Some of these traditions may be old (and may be considered outdated).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 (http://greenpinoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/newyear5.jpg)
A 10,000 - round Judas Belt (http://greenpinoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/newyear5.jpg)

Fireworks

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 (http://www.getzmo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2603&Itemid=1071)
the fruits (http://www.getzmo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2603&Itemid=1071)

Food

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.

Others

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!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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    • 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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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

      Wendy Iturrizaga 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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

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

    • create a page profile image

      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.

    • profile image

      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

      Gener Geminiano 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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      @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

      Gener Geminiano 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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks. I'll check it out.

    • profile image

      HealthTip 7 years ago

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

    • emievil profile image
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
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      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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.

    • profile image

      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!

    • profile image

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      @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 :).

    • profile image

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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.

    • profile image

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      You're welcome DeBorrah. Happy New Year!

    • profile image

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      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
      Author

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

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

    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 7 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
      Author

      emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

      You're welcome. Thanks for the visit Petra.

    • profile image

      iluvceleb 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      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.

      https://hubpages.com/holidays/New-Year-Resolution-...

    • profile image

      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.

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      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

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      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
      Author

      emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

      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.

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      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 :)

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      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.

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      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 have..eat together,laugh together.and waiting the christmas and new year holding each hands...hospitable manner..

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      jaz 5 years ago

      this is the best new year ever

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      boka 5 years ago

      l always enjoy my xmass any were l go

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      moileagma 4 years ago

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

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      Manuela Giorgi 3 years ago

      [quote]8192 characters left.[/quote]

      Truly loads of excellent data!.

      You produced your stand pretty effectively!!

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