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Filipino Rituals and Superstitions for the New Year

Filipino Rituals and Superstitions for the New Year

Change, hope, luck, and fortune. This is what the new year is expected to bring us. A chance to reunite with the people you either hate or become estranged with. A new beginning and a special occasion to tell yourself that, “this time, it’s gonna be different.” Or maybe just another chance to rewrite your New Year’s resolution from 2022, that you have failed to accomplish. Whatever it is, the New Year for sure brings forth something once it enters. Chance, choice, celebration, love, and more. 

While Filipino celebrations are different from most of the world, we can’t deny the fact that we have the most fun if not all. Fireworks, aguinaldo, lots of food, weird and fun games, karaoke, every single occasion.

And, of course, celebrations and especially the new year will never be completed without our superstitions and rituals. Well, that’s part of being a Filipino, right? And that’s actually where the fun lies. 

But, the question is, do you still remember these rituals and superstitions? The dos and don’ts of New Year’s Eve? The things you must do in order to welcome a bountiful new year? If not, then you are at the right place. 

Because these are the Filipino dos and don’ts you must remember for New Year’s Eve. 

Jump high at the strike of midnight.

Not having the height you’ve always dreamed of? Or maybe you want to be taller? Then this superstition from our grandparents might help you a bit. If Cinderella needs to come home at the strike of midnight, then Filipinos need to jump to become taller on new year’s eve. Sounds like a tall tale right?

Our lolos and lolas used to tell us that jumping as high as we can on new year’s eve would make us taller the next year. Generations after generation, jumping as high as we can is believed to be associated with becoming tall. The higher you jump, the taller you can be, as our elder relatives would always say. Although it may seem so childish, for sure your toes can’t wait to jump as high as they can on new year’s eve.

Shake the coins in your pocket.

Putting coins in our pockets on new year’s eve is mandatory. What’s a new year without some coins to shake, right? Well, for a Filipino family tradition, putting coins in the pocket and shaking it at midnight would definitely bring luck.

As shaking it would make little noise that would attract good fortune, luck, and more. And it also welcomes the idea of having lots of money in our wallets and pockets for the coming year. Well, there’s nothing to lose, so shake those coins very well at midnight. 

Make noise. Lots of it.

Ever consider making the kaldero and timba a drum set just for the new year? Well, making noise using these tools is a better choice if you would ask your grandparents and maybe your parents. Even shouting at the top of your lungs might be a good choice. 

Making loud noises once the new year comes is believed to drive bad spirits and welcome good fortune and luck. As loud noises are also a sign of celebration and happiness, they would also ward off ill intentions and bad luck. 

While others are fond of using torotot, firecrackers, and fireworks as sources of these noises, many families also use kitchen utensils as an alternative. Our family for an example. I remember my father breaking two of my mom’s precious kaldero.

That night must have been the longest one for my father, if I may say. Make the loudest noise you can. As a celebration and to ward off bad luck. Double the duty for the cause of your kaldero and timba. 

Don’t be naughty.

What you do on new year’s day would be repeated countless times for the whole new year. And what would you expect? You would be punished countless times for the same reason. My lola always tells me not to misbehave on the first day of the New Year.

The reason? For I would be scolded for another 365 days for that same reason. Whether it was for misbehaving, it’s better to start a fresh year without arguments or misunderstandings with our family. Spend the very first day of a brand new year with huge smiles on your faces and not frown. 

Don’t prepare chicken for New Year’s Eve.

Chicken on the table is a huge no for new year’s day. Although it seems to be one of Filipinos’ favorite dishes, it is a must-avoid menu when it comes to celebrating the coming year. A chicken symbolizes scarcity when it comes to food. Chickens eat the food right from the ground. For our elders, this is a manifestation of living poorly. 

Isang kahig, isang tuka,” that’s what they would always say. While it’s not really mandatory to follow this, superstition like this only shows the importance of food to our country. 

Eat kakanin and other sweet desserts.

If chickens bring bad luck and scarcity to a family, kakanin and malagkit have the opposite effect. Made from sticky rice, kakanin like biko, kutsinta, sapin-sapin, bibingkang malagkit and more tightens the bond of a family. Well, according to our traditions and superstitions.

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While eating kakanin might be the highlight of our new year’s day, eating kakanin or something sticky and sweet would help strengthen a family. That it would serve as a glue that would put families together and tighter than they can ever imagine. Eating delicious food while making the family bond stronger. Hitting two birds with one stone, right?

Wearing polka dots.

Anything circle and round is a sign of good fortune. Filipinos love circle-shaped fruits, charms, displays, and many more as it signifies a prosperous year ahead. The circle is luck and luck could be money and fortune. If you think the matter about the circle ends there, well, you are very wrong. 

Wearing polka dots is on another level. If you think shaking coins, having circle-shaped fruits, and making loud noises are enough, you have it wrong. Polka dots on your clothes, no matter how small or big the circles are, would also bring you luck.

Fill the containers.

Filling every container inside our home including, water containers, condiments, snacks, and more means a bountiful and prosperous year ahead. They said that if you welcome a brand new year with lots of water, food, snacks, and other things inside your home, you are headed to a blessed and lucky year. 

Don’t clean.

If there is a superstition about letting positive energy enter your home. There is also a must-avoid housework you should always uphold on New Year’s day. Loud noises ward off bad spirits. While on the other hand, sweeping or cleaning the house on New Year’s day would also sweep away the good fortune.

Whether we believe it or not, there’s no pain in trying and following right? Who knows, maybe the luck that you have been looking for is just under your bed or sofa, waiting to be discovered. 

Open your house. Literally.

Welcoming the coming year with your doors and windows closed might not be a good idea, to begin with. If you want to welcome a prosperous and bountiful year ahead, you must let the good spirits and luck come in, in any way they would want to. 

Opening all the possible entrances like windows and doors is like warmly welcoming a guest to your home. The openness of your home would attract the positive energy to enter and hope to never leave. 

Filipinos are no doubt so fond of rituals and superstitions regardless of the occasion. Be it at Christmas or New Year, rituals and superstitions might be some sort of a hoax, but it surely does teach us a lesson or two. 

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