Christmas in the Philippines: New Year
Filipinos often celebrate New Year’s Eve at parties, discos, and balls. Many sport the paper party hats sold by countless roadside vendors in the preceding days. Polka-dotted clothes are also popular on New Year’s Eve, since Filipino folklore teaches that anything round brings good luck for the new year. Filipinos celebrate New Year’s Eve by making noise. Those who cannot lay their hands on firecrackers will beat on pots and pans. The noisemaking comes to a head at midnight. After midnight, many settle down to a large meal. The menu often includes stuffed peppers, ham, and sweets. Cooks try to place as many round foods as possible on the table. Many Filipinos make sure to have grapes in the house on New Year’s Eve. Following an old Spanish custom, they pop one grape into their mouth for each of the twelve chimes of the clock as it rings in the new year. Doing so ensures that they will have a sweet new year. Many also turn on every light in their home at midnight. According to Filipino folk belief, this will bring about a bright new year. Another folk belief teaches that those who stay home all day on New Year’s Day will spend much time with their loved ones in the coming year. Many people take this advice and spend January 1 at home with their families.