Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Celebrating Christmas & New Years in the Philippines

Probably more food is prepared during the New Year celebration than Christmas. The same way other cultures welcome the New Year with food, it's tradition for Filipinos to go all out when it comes to food in welcoming the New Year. If Americans believe eating black-eyed peas on the New Year's eve bring luck for the coming year, Filipinos make sure there is plenty of rice and food on the table to ensure abundance of food in the upcoming year.

Filipinos welcome the New Year in a very sound and blissful way. Though most of the country is poor, it's a happy tradition for everyone to celebrate in whatever way they can. Aside from  abundance of food, typical Filipino families find it most important to gather up for the New Year's midnight mass then return home to bring all the blessings home. Everyone would then be busy with just about anything to make the night warm as can be.

Minutes before the clock strikes to midnight, it's magic seeing excitement in everyone's faces as they eagerly awaits the countdown, in fact it's a bit of a requirement to be in the hearty spirit, and if you happen to be in the Philippines, the very festive attitude could get you to holiday high gears as you join in the chorus of the New Year's countdown.

Although the countdown varies from place to place, it's usually at the strike of 12:00 midnight that noise starts abound, church bells ring, car horns blowing, ting cans dragged around,  banging things to create as much noise as possible, and everyone greeting "Happy New Year!". It is awesome to hear the sound of firecrackers ruling the streets and the breathtaking beauty of fireworks blossoming the cool night's sky as you hear awe-inspiring voices of enchanted young and old filipinos alike. It is believed that the loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only to celebrate the coming of the New Year but are also to cast out bad spirits.

It is fun seeing children jump as high as they can on the stroke of midnight with the hope to get taller. Some even massage their noses wishing to wake up with a more pointed one. Some people wear polka dotted dresses and shirts as the round shape of the dots symbolizes more money for the year, and couples kiss each other to embrace the New Year with love and sweetness.

After the noise, the family starts to eat a thanksgiving dinner called "Media Noche", a feast that symbolizes their hopes for a prosperous New Year. It is believed that there should be as much food on the table and twelve round fruits to symbolize prosperity for the next twelve months. Some families make a toast of their favorite wine drink for good health in the New Year, while others enjoy drinking beer all through the night.

On the first day of the year, almost all windows and doors are open to let in the good luck of the New Year fill the house. Most of all, it is to welcome the New Year and to thank God for all His blessings. That's how wonderful spending the New Years in the Philippines, it's not about what we have but its how we make the most of what is there. For this reason, I'd still love to spend holidays in the Philippines!

             Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon sa Ating Lahat!
                    Merry Christmas & A Prosperous New Year To Us All

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