In a few days we will welcome the New Year – I feel it’s going to be an exciting year ahead! *Let’s all be an optimist =) The coming of every new year brings to mind not only New Year resolutions but renewed hope for things to be better and wondrous expectation that what’s ahead will be more special than the year that just passed. For many, New Year also means a time where you can begin things on the right foot. And for most Filipinos one of the right steps is to follow the Palihi tradition.
Palihi Tradition No 1: Prepare Twelve Different Kinds of Round Fruits for Luck!
Palihi in Cebuano is akin to an act that invites luck, “pampaswerte” or “pampabuenas” in Tagalog. I’ve been racking my brain to find the exact translation of “palihi” in English and Tagalog but I’m at a loss. If you know its literal translation, please please leave your comment so I can stop scouring my brain hehehhe. Anyhow one of the Palihi traditions that has become part of Filipino culture and one followed by many Pinoys for the New Year whether they are in the Philippines or abroad is to prepare 12 round fruits for luck. Some say 13 but our family follows “12” as 12 represents each month of the coming year. These fruits are then put in a tray and place at the center of the table. These lucky round fruits are your center pieces of your Media Noche feast, yep just like the Christmas ham during Noche Buena =)
A lot of homemakers will visit the “merkado” or the town’s wet market or the fresh produce section in big grocery stores to buy those special 12 or 13 round fruits for New Year. My mom will probably be also doing this approaching January 1. There will be a spike in demand for these round fruits and normally prices go up this season, so buy a little early and choose the unripe fruits. Popular choices for these round fruits are Orange or Ponkan, Pakwan or Watermelon, Apple, Grapes, Chicos, Dalandan, Suha or Pomela aka Buongon, Star Apple or Caimito, Lanzones, Atis, Chesa, Pear, Duhat or Lumboy, Sineguelas, Melon, Lychee, Lemon, Guava, Kiwi. 🙂 Hope that gives you an idea of the fruits you can have and prepare for New Year’s Media Noche.
Palihi Tradition No. 2: Make Noise to drive away evil and bad luck!
These round fruits for New Year are influences of our Tsinoy brothers together with the firecrackers and fireworks that has also become prominent fixture in celebrating New Year in the Philippines as they drive away ill luck for the coming year. These ways have become a part of Filipino culture. But I do hope you will consider not spending money to buy those “big guns” of firecrackers like sinturon ni judas, piccolo, goodbye Philippines, goodbye World types as you are attracting danger with them, not driving away bad luck. There are more ways to make noise to celebrate 2014 that comes with no or less danger. Example? Take out your aluminum cookware and bang them on the wall nahhh a good alternative is to blast your karaoke machines on high volume, no one will bat an eye if you do hehehhe Alrighty?! 🙂
Palihi Tradition No. 3: Family that feast on sticky delicacies will stay strong and close with each other.
We don’t follow this but some family like Field Trip Boy follows the “eat 12 pieces of the same kind of fruit”, say eat 12 pieces of grapes or take a bite into 12 pieces of apple. I don’t know the explanation of this but Titus said this is also done for luck. Others choose to serve “malagkit” or sticky rice delicacies like biko, kalamay, suman, espasol, buchi-buchi, and other native kakanins as this would keep the family close and tight-knit akin to the sticky consistency of these local delicacies.
Palihi Tradition No. 4 : Wear Polka Dot and Shake those coins for money luck!
As a kid I’ve gotten used to wearing polka dot blouses or dresses as polka dots are round, and round signifies coins or money. Wearing them as you welcome the New Year will bring you money luck all throughout the coming 12 months.
There is also the palihi tradition of preparing 30 pieces of the same kind of coin like P0.25, P1.00, P5.00 and P10.00. You place them in your dress’ pocket (hopefully a polka-dotted dress heheh), and shake your pocket when 12 midnight strike and it becomes officially January 1. This is again for money luck as the clashing of coins invites in swerte sa pera para sa bagong taon. These coins are to be safe keep and not to be touched unless it’s a dire emergency or you are facing an extremely difficult situation.
My Lola Mancia and I Welcomes New Year 2012 =)
Palihi Tradition No. 5: Jump for Joy and you’ll be taller!
But my most favorite of all New Year Palihi traditions, one which I may not have done right is to jump with zest in celebrating the New Year. Jumping will supposedly help you get taller. My siblings Kenneth and Nicko are tall whereas I, the eldest, am the shortest of us three. Hmmm, maybe this particular palihi does not work after all (sour graping hehehehe) or they were jumping up and down a minute before midnight strike and I only did it a few seconds before midnight? Heheheh
No matter if you and your family follow and believe these very Pinoy New Year traditions or not, the coming of New Year is always a cause for the warmest of celebrations.
And it’s always an exciting thing to watch everyone around you countdown the last seconds of the year and herald in January 1. Joyful celebrations will erupt – ladies will shake the coins on their pockets, kids will make noise with their turotot in between jumping, the boys will start lighting up their fountains and binggala, everyone looking forward to the midnight feast and what’s on the table for Media Noche.
And me? Expect me to still jump happily hoping that I will still grow taller. Lol.
What #pampaswerte sa bagong taon are you following?
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Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2015 to All!