A festive Filipino table for the New Year
In the Philippines the countdown to New Year varies depending on
family or even region. At the strike of midnight, the noise becomes
deafening with firecrackers shooting and blooming in the sky while
everyone gape in awe.
The banging and booming rise to a climax as people make noise by
clanging old pots and pans, blowing a jeepney, car or tricycle’s horns,
using assorted whistles, firecrackers to any kind of noise both awful or
simply maddening. For children who wishes to grow taller in the new
year, adults cajole them to jump 12 times around midnight in hopes of
getting their wish fulfilled. Similar to other Asian countries, the loud
noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only meant to celebrate the
New Year but are supposed to drive away bad spirits.
After midnight the family also gather for a thanksgiving feast called
Media Noche (midnight meal). Filipinos believe having a food-laden
dinner table augurs well for the coming year and brings good luck. At
least 12 round fruits are placed in the fruit basket as a sign of
prosperity for the next 12 months. All-time favourite dishes such as
noodles (for long life), pork, beef, chicken, rice cakes and assorted
sweets are served. For Catholics there is also a midnight mass to
welcome the New Year.
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