New Year’s tradition in the Philippines

New Year in the Philippines

In the national language, Happy New Year is translated to “Manigong Bagong Taon”. However, almost nobody uses it anywhere because we’ve grown accustomed to using the English version.

New Year

The Philippines has been colonized by the Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese, but even before these colonizers came; the country has been visited through barter system by the Chinese, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, most of which are neighboring countries.  Through this exchanges sprung the variety of traditions incorporated to make the Philippine culture unique. Some of these traditions are superstitious beliefs surrounding the celebration of New Year’s Eve. Here are some of them:

1)  Evil spirits are everywhere. To scare them away, you have to make as much noise as you can.  This is why you may want to consider ear plugs. I swear, it is very loud everywhere at midnight in the Philippines.

2)  To give you a bright future in the New Year, you have to turn all the lights on.  When you drive around, you are met with neon lights, klieg lights, house lights, spot lights. Every kind of light there is to find is turned on.

3)  Welcome good fortune by opening all doors, windows, and cabinets.  This, of course, should be done with caution as robbers abound getting ready to enter houses.

Fireworks greet the New Year in the Philippines.
Fireworks greet the New Year in the Philippines.

4)  Have some money in the bank or fill your wallet with money. If you have enough money in the bank or your wallet at the stroke of midnight, then you will have enough money the rest of the year.

5)  No dirt in the house as this gives bad luck. Clean everything.

6)  Anything round symbolizes money. Wearing clothes with polka dots will give you wealth the coming year.

7)  Spread coins around the house. This will ensure that you have good finances the whole year.

8)  For children, jump as high as you can at the strike of midnight. This will increase your height considerably in the coming year.

9)  At the dinner table, have a whole plate with different round fruits, one for each month. As in number 6, anything round symbolizes money.

12 different round fruits for each month gives good luck.
12 different round fruits for each month gives good luck.

10)  Eat dessert that is sticky. This will make good fortune stick with you.

11)  Noodles are a symbol of long life. Serve noodles for New Year’s eve dinner. Everyone at the dinner table will be blessed with long life.

New Year, Philippines

12)  Do not spend any money on January 1. Your bank and your wallet has to have money also on the first day of the year so you will have prosperity the rest of the year as well.

13)  SMILE.  Most importantly, smile at the strike of midnight. This will give you a happy year.

New Year, Philippines

14)   Do not eat chicken or fish. Eat pork, beef, lamb. Chicken and fish are identified with meals when one is on a budget. Pork, beef and lamb are generally identified with abundance.

New Year’s eve is one of the biggest celebrations in the Philippines.  Being predominantly Catholic, the people go to hear midnight mass. When they come home, a huge feast called Media Noche awaits them with sticky rice, beef, pork, noodles, round fruits, and any food related to good luck.

Filipinos are a music-loving people. It won’t be a surprise if a lot of them sing aloud the whole night, as loud as they can to bring in good luck.  Singing is one thing Filipinos do to have fun. It doesn’t matter if they have a good singing voice or not.

New year, Philippines

There is always a place for you to celebrate in the Philippines, whatever your budget is. From meager, to moderate, to moneyed. Even the most discerning traveler can find their ideal place here.

Why don’t you try some of these just for fun. Then tell me if it worked.  Please do drop me a line.  I would like to hear from your. 



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