27 December 2010

New Year Filipino Observances (Pamahiin)

We are currently here in the Philippines (Baguio, to be exact) celebrating the holidays.  It's been a rough start unfortunately, as the three of us became ill the few days after we have arrived.  But we are feeling much better now, and hopefully this will continue on as we have a lot of things we'd like to do while we're here.

In the meantime, a segment on Filipino customs caught my eye on the morning TV show awhile ago.  It's about our pamahiin for welcoming the New Year.  It is interesting to note that we have actually been observing most of these too back in New Zealand, but due to some special circumstances we could not, as explained below.


1. Collect 12 different kinds of round fruits for prosperity on all 12 months of the new year - this one was especially difficult to do in New Zealand because there is only so much variety in the market: apples, oranges, lemons, cherries, kiwifruit, grapes, watermelon ... while here in the Philippines, add guava, atis, chesa, santol, chico, rambutan, aratilis, duhat... depends on the season too I guess but we have lots more choices.

2. Wear polka dot clothes - My wife has a polka dot shirt!

3. Have spaghetti or pancit on the table for long life

4. Place coins in your pocket and shake it when 12 midnight comes around so you will have money all year round!  Make sure you also have paper bills in your wallet or you'd end up with loads of coins only!

5. Jump around at 12 midnight!  This is especially for the kids; they will grow taller in the following year.  Adults can also share in the fun, and at the same time makes jingling of the coins more fun!

6. Open all doors and windows and turn on all the lights by 12 midnight to usher in good luck.

7. Make lots of noise to drive away bad luck!

8. Make sure your rice container is filled to the brim so it will not run dry in the new year.  My Nanay always takes note of this.

9. Standing at the main doorway, we scatter coins all over the living room, followed by the other rooms.  There is a mad dash for getting these coins because they are considered lucky.

These make our New Year celebration all the more fun and special, especially with family and friends around.

Only a few more days to go... advanced Happy New Year to all!
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