On the last day of the year, we tidied up the house, prepared our dinner, and while waiting for the food to be cooked, played with the toys from Santa.
If we were in Manila, there would be a big party (I come from a big family) with abundant food and loud fireworks.
Thanks to Face Time, my children were able to see how their titas and lola greeted the New Year. They oohed and ahhhed as they watched the fireworks right outside their lola’s house–16 hours ahead of our own New Year celebration.
My own mom was very big on spending Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in our own home. She wanted all of us together as a family. Our tradition was to spend Christmas and New Year’s lunch with cousins, and aunts, and grandparents, but the Eve was reserved just for us.
Aside from wearing red (lucky color), and wearing polka dots (symbol of money), putting money in pockets (to greet the year with pockets filled with money), jumping (for children to grow taller), and making noise (to ward off evil spirits), we would also turn on all the lights around the house on New Year’s Eve. On the dining table would be a huge basket of fruits to symbolize abundant blessings for the New Year.
My mom would even open all the windows “to welcome the luck of the new year in”. Not too far behind her would be my older sister shutting the windows because leaving the windows and doors open meant letting the firecracker fumes in the house as well.
Except for donning something with polka dots, and opening the windows and doors (it was too cold), I followed my mom’s tradition of welcoming the year. We had a quiet dinner at home with a home-cooked meal. At midnight, we clinked flute glasses filled with sparkling apple cider and Prosecco.
And so, we welcome 2013 full of hope and excitement for the endless possibilities that this year may bring.