New Year’s Eve: Prosperity And Good Fortune To All Mankind


MANILA, Philippines — The celebration of New Year’s Eve is the oldest of all holidays. It was observed in ancient Babylon four thousand years ago. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions goes all the way back to the year 153 B.C. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future, making him the ancient symbol for resolutions. New Year’s Eve with its emphasis on romance and indulgences might seem like a secular celebration, but underneath all the glitter and sparkle, it is a holiday with deep spiritual roots.

In the Philippines, the Bisperas ng Bagong Taon is a festive time where age-old traditions are followed in the belief they will usher in good fortune and prosperity. For many, preparing for New Year’s Eve means the preparation of special foods like noodles which signify long life, coming up with 12 round fruits and traditional delicacies made from glutinous or sticky rice so that good fortune will stick around throughout the year. Many of these customs have strong Chinese influence and will rarely be without grapes, pomelos, and oranges on display at the dining table.

Filipinos go all out on New Year’s Eve with fireworks that come in all shapes and sizes. Children love scratching the firecracker watusi against concrete walls and cemented surfaces although government has warned about its toxic effects, while others beat pots and pans to scare away evil spirits. Vehicle horns are tooted, empty cans are dragged along the street, whistles are blown, and before the clock strikes midnight, doors are left wide open to allow good luck to come in.

New Year suggests a new beginning. Flipping open a fresh calendar with yet unmarked months is one of the most universally hopeful acts humans perform – a chance to shrug off a year of worries, mistakes, and conflicts and a chance to start over with worthy resolutions for the coming year.

Sometimes New Year’s resolutions are completely forgotten. It is, therefore, best to re-evaluate our plans and goals once every quarter within the year. Resolutions that stick are almost always backed by a strong personal commitment to change. As Janus would tell us, serious reflection on the past will shine a much brighter light on how you can shape a better future. A HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE, MABUHAY!

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