Probably most of you don't know that here in the Philippines we celebrate the Holiday season as early as September. Shopping malls will be playing Christmas songs and among those were from Jose Mari Chan, a Filipino singer and full of Christmas decors. Most families also put up their decorations once September starts. That is why they say that we Filipinos have the longest Christmas.
Not only do we have the longest Holiday celebration but we also have a long list of Christmas and New Year's tradition. What are the traditions in your country? Here I will list down some of the things that I know and you are free to add some more if I missed out on something.
It is a novena dawn masses for 9 days that starts on December 16. It has been a long practiced by the Catholics. Masses start as early as 3AM and after mass, you'll get to enjoy hot bibingka and puto bumbong, popular rice cakes here in the Philippines that is being sold outside the churches. It was only when I was old enough that I found out that you can also have simbang gabi evening masses from December 15-23. Who else knew about this? Why didn't I found out about it earlier? LOL.
In addition to the simbang gabi, some people said that if you completed the 9 mornings, your wish will come true. Who believes in this one? Whether or not it is true, we should instill in our minds that we are doing this to prepare for the birth of our Jesus Christ. I know that there are some people especially the teenagers who would attend the simbang gabi just so they can be with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Others would just show off their jackets which have been hanged in their closet for a long time then meet with their group of friends and go boy or girl hunting. I hope that people shouldn't do these kind of things during simbang gabi. They should hear about the Lord's teachings and prepare themselves for the coming of Jesus. It is a sacred place and we should respect the church, the priest, the church goers and our Lord. Have you completed a simbang gabi?
Noche buena is the feast on Christmas eve while Media noche is the feast on new year's eve. It is a feast that includes lots of food that some of it are part of the Filipino traditions. It is the time where families would all dine together in the celebration of the Holidays.
They say that you have to have 12 different kinds of round shaped fruits in welcoming the year. I remember my mom had a difficulty in completing those fruits and there are years that we can only afford to have less than 12. Some say 12 while others say 13. But I really know it's 12 as it represents the 12 months. I don't know whether this is true but I read somewhere that fruits with thorns or spikes like the pineapple should not be included in your fruit basket as
Some say it is 12 and others say it's 13. No matter how many, it has to be round and different but in reality, it is very hard to complete it right? What are your 12 round shaped fruits during new year? Some alsk say that fruits with thorns should not be included because it represents problems and obstacles. Do you believe in that saying? What are your 12 rounded fruits? I guess I better list down all those fruits so that we can complete it this year. Is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? LOL.
They say sticky rice is a must have during new year and new year's eve so that your family sticks together. But some say that if you eat it, good luck and good fortune will stick with you. Notice that tikoy, a Chinese new year's cake, is always present during Chinese new year? Do you have sticky rice on your menu this new year's eve? If not, then you better include it. Who doesn't want good luck and good fortune to stick with you right?
They say that any kind of chicken and fish dish should be avoided in your new year's eve and new year's menu as it will bring food scarcity for the coming year. While others say that you will be struggling all year round may it be with money, love, career, business or basically life in general.
They say that all water and rice containers should be full as it is believe to make your life more more prosperous for the coming year.
Did you think that pancit or rice noodles should only be present during birthdays? Well you are wrong. They say that you should also have it present for media noche for long life for the coming year. So you better include this in your menu.
Ok enough with food talks. Let's now go to the things that we do in welcoming the year.
Yes, jump! They say that kids (and kids at heart) should jump when the clock strikes at 12 midnight for you to grow tall. I don't know if this was true but yes did it when I was a kid and I think until I was in highschool. LOL. I wanted to be tall what's wrong with that? LOL.
They say that making noise drives away evil spirits thus the reason for fireworks when it strikes 12 midnight. I love looking at fireworks but we were taught by my dad that we shouldn't be wasting money on such. He said that you are just burning away your money. He told us that there are other things to make noise. So when we were kids my mom used to buy us torotot or a hornpipe (not sure if it is really the english word for that). Then the past few years I have improvised by using the lid of our casseroles so it was really loud. I did it both inside and outside of our house to really drive away all the evil spirits. And I will be doing it again this year.
So if you are a kid, you can still jump while blowing your torotot or banging those lids of your pots. But wait for the next tradition.
They say you have to wear something with polka dots print when welcoming the year. The round shaped resembles coins and it has said to bring in good fortune. When I was a kid, I saw my grandmother wear a dress with lots of colorful dots. LOL. But years ago I have realized that I should be wearing both polka dots and stripes as it resembles coins and paperbills don't you agree? LOL. Luckily I have an underwear that has both so that is what I used before. I will have to look for a polka dots and/or stripes to wear this year. Will you be wearing stripes, polka dots or both?
They say that all windows, doors and lights should be open in welcoming the year to bring in good fortune and to let positive vibes in. We have done this in the past but as we grow old, my dad would say that it costs too much on the electricity. LOL. He's now conscious with the cost of our electricity. But that is not only the problem, if all your windows and doors are open, there is a chance that rats and stray cats may go inside your house. We don't want that to happen right? I guess it is ok to open the main door and some main lights. There is no problem with the windows as long as you have screen.
For this part it has two tradition. They say that you have to have coins inside your pocket and that you should shake them from the inside for you to have lots of money in your pocket for the coming year. Well I think it can also be considered to shake away the evil spirits in your pocket. LOL. I just made that up but it also makes noise but not as loud as the lids, the hornpipe nor the fireworks. So how can you jump, make a loud bang and shake your coins all in all when the clock strikes at 12? I guess you can if you're going to use a hornpipe instead of the lids of the casserole.
Second thing about the coins, they say that you have to put some coins in your doorstep. Everything about the coins is said to bring good fortune. With the coins in the doorstep, it has been said that it will bing in more luck and money. So why not do both right?
They say that your wallet should have some new paper bills inside so that you will be able to invite wealth for the coming year. Ever since my wallet has few banknotes of Php20 and Php50. I always save all the new paper bills that I got because I don't want to use them so I keep it in my wallet. I don't usually have higher banknotes because if I do, I put it in my pocket together with my coins. Of course I don't want to receive a small amount of money for the coming year that's why I included some paperbills in my pocket. LOL. But I'll try to place some higher banknotes in my wallet this time.
Have you received Ang pao or those red envelopes from your relatives when you were young? Did you use the money inside or did you save it? Well they say that you better collect those red envelopes and not use the money inside and save it or better put it in the bank.
They say that before the year ends, it is better to clear all your debts so that you wouldn't have the same financial status for the coming year. Yes, talking about history repeating itself. You don't want that don't you? So you better pay the people you owe money. It feels good when you are debt free.
They say that you shouldn't spend anything on new year's day because it means you are going to have a year of spending. So you have to keep all your money in your pocket and/or wallet and don't spend anything. Whatever it is that you need to buy, I'm sure it can wait for the next day.
Those are the things that I know about some traditions, superstitions or beliefs of us Filipinos during the Holiday season. It is still up to you whether or not you believe it. As for me, there is no harm in trying so why not do it right? So out of all the listed traditions, what will you be doing to end this year?
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