3126 new year traditions in phillippines
Photo: ZEN Rooms

Here are 12 most interesting New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions in the Philippines:

Top New Year Traditions in Philippines

Wearing Polka Dots

Round things are a symbol of luck in many parts of Asia, including the Philippines. Circles and round things are a way to bring wealth to the family in the new year, as cited by Join Cake.

Stores sell polka dot everything leading up to the new year, and you’ll see lots of people wearing their best polka dot fashion.

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Photo: ROL Cruise

Making Noise

New Year’s Eve in the Philippines isn’t a quiet event! This is a time to be as loud as possible. Pots and pans are banged together, kids use homemade instruments, and everyone just turns up the volume.

Why so loud? In the Philippines, it’s believed that loud noises drive away evil spirits. Everyone’s on a mission to drive away those spirits before the new year, so that means things get a little (or a lot) loud!

Family Feasts

Families come together during the New Year to reconnect and remember a family member who passed in the previous year. This is a time for reflection and growth as a family with some of the most beloved Filipino foods.

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Photo: Tagalog Lang

Favourites like kare-kare, lechon, and congee are on the menu. Each family has its own unique twist on what’s served, and this is a meal worth waiting all year for.

Number 12

A lot of people have a special number they think is luckier than others. There are a lot of lucky numbers in the Philippines, and these are evoked on New Year’s Eve to bring even more luck to families. The most common lucky number associated with the New Year is number 12. It’s a symbol for the 12 months of the year.

Most families display things in 12 around the home. What do they display? Most people choose round fruits. This combines the luckiness of round fruits with a special number.

Open Doors and Windows

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Photo: My Philippinese Life

Another Filipino tradition is to open all the doors and windows in the home. Some families also open drawers and cabinets. This is a way to welcome positive energy into the home.

While cleaning and loud noises scare away evil spirits, the openness of the home is a warm welcome to the positive spirits. Some of these spirits could be from deceased ancestors. This is one of the many ways to explore death in different cultures.

Media Noche

New year’s celebration for the Filipinos is not complete without the old Filipino custom, Media Noche. During new year’s eve, Filipino families, relatives and friends gather for a lavish midnight feast that symbolises their hopes for prosperity and an abundant year ahead. This tradition is most likely inherited from the Spaniards, who colonised the country for more than 300 years.

Eat Sticky Rice to Strengthen the Family Bond

Filipinos are known to be family-oriented with very close family ties. They believe that eating food made from sticky rice like bibingka (a type of baked rice cake), Biko (sweet rice cake) and tikoy (also known as nian gao, which is translated as Chinese new year's cake) will bind families together stronger. This is also believed to deliver good fortune.

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Bibingka Cake. Photo: Pinoy Cooking

No Chicken and Fish Dishes

If there are foods that are believed to bring luck, there are also foods that are considered are not suitable to eat during the new year celebration. A tradition that is still followed by some Filipinos is to abstain from eating chicken and fish, as they symbolise or are associated with food scarcity.

Eat Pancit (noodles) for Long Life and Fortune

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A Filipino noodle dish. Photo: Ang Sarap

This is influenced by the Chinese. Filipinos believe that eating pancit (long noodles) during the new year will help bring luck and it also represents good health and long life, Gulf News cites

Paying Debts

One of the most unique traditions in the Philippines is the focus on settling your debts. While nobody wants to ring in the new year with even more debt, this is a big focus of the holiday in the Philippines.

It’s believed that any financial habits you have in the previous year will continue in the New Year. Having debts to your name means you’ll only bring another year of debts, and nobody wants that. It’s common to see people scrambling to get through their debt payoff journey as the year comes to a close.

Jumping High when the Clock Strikes 12

Children are encouraged to jump as high as they can when the clock hits 12 because old folks believe that it will help them grow taller.

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Photo: Born a Dragon

Full Containers

As you can see, there’s a focus on abundance and fulfilment in the Philippines New Year’s Eve tradition. One way to bring even more luck and wealth is with full containers. People fill rice and water containers in preparation for their New Year celebration. This brings a year of prosperity, according to superstition.

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