Giant firecrackers, paper horns, round fruits on the dining table usher in New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2009 11:40 pm 

MANILA, Dec. 31 – Filipino families joined the world in welcoming New Year late Thursday as giant firecrackers of all shapes and forms roared into the air with a million multi-colored lights blazing across the sky.

With bursts of firecracker explosions and colors like a kaleidoscope ripping and crossing borders and hemispheres in different time zones, world leaders bowed their heads in prayer to continue searching for an end to frosty relations among some nations, thwarting the universal quest for peace amid the specter of nuclear power supremacy and global terrorism.

In Manila, thousands of promenaders gathered at the Rizal Park to watch the fireworks display starting at 6 p.m. Many brought their families with them and sat on the grounds for a picnic.

At the Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City, shoppers were also treated to fireworks display Thursday evening.

Over in Quezon City, a physician celebrated New Year’s Eve by playing the “Auld Lang Syne” on his clarinet and saxophone at their family residence in Del Monte District.

Dr. Jose Bulalacao, who holds clinic at the Sto. Domingo Shrine on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, said this is his way of celebrating New Year’s Eve. “Play good music. It’s making noise safely,” he said.

Bulalacao’s dining table were laden with food for the Media Noche or midnight meal, and there is a basket of 12 different round fruits to symbolize prosperity in each of the coming year's 12 months.

He said Filipinos have many beliefs and traditions for every occasion, such as making use of round objects during the New Year celebration to bring good luck.

Bulalacao said he bought 13 different pieces of round fruits for her table on New Year’s Eve. He said it has always been their practice at home to prepare round fruits and place them in a basket.

Bulalacao said, adding that 13 is a lucky number for the Chinese people and the round shape signifies wealth.

He recalls that his mother also used to prepare round dishes and would also have her dress up in polka-dotted clothes.

For his fruit basket, Mancao had selected orange, apple, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi, grapes, guava, lemon, papaya, chickos, kiat-kiat, lanzones, and pear.

“I really believe in this tradition especially the fruits, because there was one time that I was not able to prepare any fruits for New Year, and the whole year was bad for me with many bad things happening to my family,” Bulalacao said.

Bulalacao said that Chinese people usually celebrate a separate New Year as they follow the lunar calendar with the new year for 2010 falling on February 14, which is incidentally Valentine’s Day.

Aside from preparing round foods and items, tossing coins is also believed to bring good luck especially with finances.

Firecrackers are also believed to drive away evil spirits. People who do not want to use firecrackers because of the risks can use car horns or kettles instead.

It is also believed that eating 12 grapes at midnight would bring you more luck and good health the whole year round.

The whole family should also be inside their homes and celebrate the coming of a new year together, which, according to Bulalacao helps strengthen family bonds.

Nowadays, though, many families like to go out and celebrate somewhere like in hotels where they can watch the fireworks.

But most Filipinos lighted their own fireworks, but public new year parties abroad like in New York City and Sydney, Australia, are also available to the people and are often very well attended.

2010 is the Year of the Metal Tiger in the Chinese calendar. Tiger years are expected to be a time of great upheavals and big changes. (PNA)

DCT/JCA

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