January 1, 2012

Celebrating the New Year in the Philippines

Celebrating the New Year is a boisterous affair in the Philippines. Traditionally, fireworks and firecrackers are lit to generate noise that is meant to ward off bad luck and evil spirits. Over time, people just do it for the fun of it, albeit the practice may have dangerous consequences. Media reports on January 1st are usually filled with grizzly images of bloodied stumps caused by a wayward firecracker or wounded kids done in by a stray bullet. Still, the firecrackers and fireworks simultaneously lit by virtually all households in the country would put the run-of-the-mill Fourth of July display to shame.

At each home people usually put a basket of twelve fruits on the table - at least one of each kind - as another way on ensuring that the coming year would be plentiful. At the stroke of midnight, children are encouraged to jump several times so that they might grow taller, and coins are jingled in the pockets to attract money in the coming year.  

After all the fireworks were lit, families and friends would gather for the midnight feast called Media Noche, to celebrate the passing year and to welcome the new year.  

from top: a video showing the metropolis during New Year's eve, taken by a friend; fireworks that we prepared to welcome the new year; twelve fruits to ensure a plentiful year; a neighborhood kid runs from a wayward rocket that he lit in front of our gate. 

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