Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Eve Traditions

From the top clockwise: Cantaloupe (milon), red grapefruit, mango, kiwi, nectarine, tomato (yes, it’s a fruit), fuzzy pear, lemon, navel orange, avocado, Asian pear, delicious apple, grapes.

I was at the Fruit and Vegetable Section of Superstore with my son Ryan on the morning of New Year’s Eve when I saw my friend Marissa.

“Happy New Year!” She greeted me.

“Happy New Year, too.” I said. “Are you also collecting 13 fruits for New Year’s Eve?”

“Not 13, only 12. Twelve months, right?”

“No, 13. Lucky 13.”

Well, there goes a variation of this Filipino tradition of gathering fruits that are round on New Year’s Eve. This is believed to bring good luck. The round shape represents money. Another tradition is wearing polka dots.

Marissa was with her 16-year old son. She told me that he thought that this tradition was dumb. Ouch! But considering the high price of these fruits at this time of the year, the kid does have a point.

My kids have never told me that any of the Filipino traditions that I observe are dumb. Do they also think so? Are they just being nice to me by not saying anything? But they are following along with me. Like for instance, we always light sparklers (lusis) on New Year’s Eve. And they enjoy it. We light lusis instead of firecrackers (paputok) as people do in the Philippines. Filipinos believe that one should greet the New Year with a bang. Due to safety reasons, some people choose to make noises by banging pots and pans and blowing horns.

When I was still a little girl, our elders encouraged children to jump at the stroke of midnight so that they would grow tall. (Unfortunately, it didn't work for me.) My children jumped when we greeted 2000, but that was it. Another tradition is gathering for the Media Noche (midnight meal). We do this every year. So my kids were up until midnight while we watched on TV the countdown on Times Square, NY. I always cook sotanghon (bean thread) soup, which my kids enjoy as well.

Now that I am an adult, I know that there is no logic behind these traditions. But we grew up with these customs and beliefs. And I guess we hold on to them to cherish our childhood and our roots.


earthember said...

I always believe in passing down family traditions from one generation to another. Fortunately, there aren't many traditions in the modern family I grew up in. Most were done away with, for practical reasons.

It's great that your kids enjoy observing your family traditions.

Senor Enrique said...

I'm sure the kids appreciate their heritage more through these traditions that you share with them.

My father had everyone wearing something red every New Year's Eve, and somehow, we still do it after all these years.

As for food, the jars or containers of rice, salt and sugar ought to be full. The cupboard must also have ample supply of the usual canned foodstufs. Weird, huh? hehehe.

Hsin said...

I think it's great your kids enjoy your traditions, although I think the impact of what they mean probably won't hit home till they're much older. Like me - it's now looking back do I appreciate all the things we used to do growing up. Not that there was a lot, and not that all of them were meaningful, but it gives a sense of belonging.

bing said...

hi, just dropping by...

traditions handed down from generation to generation surely will become varied as time passes by... i think it is better that we, as parents, would explain the meaning of these traditions or how they'd gotten to be practiced and handed over from generations to generations. kids have a lot of questions in their head and sometimes are wary about asking them. sometime it helps starting... wow, this is an unsolicited suggestion. was carried away.. (",)

Anonymous said...

The fruit collection tradition is kinda neat, but I'm still curious why 13 and not 12. Interestingly at a shopping mall before Xmas, a TV reporter approached and asked me - do you have a unique Xmas tradition to share with us? She handed me a paper to sign before the interview and I backed out.... Stage fright perhaps and secondly, I know our traditions back home but I am not practicing it here!

Anonymous said...

Your kids seem to be enjoying the "lusis" tradition based on the pic.

The midnight meal is something that my Mom has always insisted. During this time, we gather around the table, read a Bible passage, pray, and then eat. I think it's a nice family tradition.

Here in Switzerland, most young people go partying at night. New Year's Eve is spent usually with friends.

(P.S. Thanks for visiting X-Pat Files yesterday.)