13 Filipino New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions

Manila, Philippines – In just a few hours from now, the world will welcome 2023 with grandiose celebrations.

Just like everybody else, Filipinos whoever they are and wherever they are in the world will mark the event as one of the year’s most special festivities.

There are many interesting Filipino traditions that includes superstitions or folk beliefs connected with the New Year.

For centuries, we Filipinos have been practicing various customs to welcome new year. Most of them have been passed on from generation to generation have a great sense of optimism, looking forward to prosperity.

Many of them have been influenced by the Chinese and Spanish.

Hong Kong News lists down some of these quirky Filipino traditions and practices to accommodate the New Year. They include the following:


1. Wear polka dots dress

Wearing anything round for Filipinos signifies prosperity. The polka dots also symbolize money and fortune.

2. Jumping high when the clock strikes 12

Kids are encouraged to jump as high as they can when the clock hits 12 as elders believe that it will help them grow taller.

3. Media Noche

Of course, New year festivities for the Filipinos won’t be 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.

Others would even borrow money from their friends and relatives just to have their “handa.”

This tradition is supposedly inherited from the Spaniards, who colonised the country more than 300 years.

4. A variety of round-shaped fruits

There are no rules but for some it’s 12, 13 or 14 – but it doesn’t truly matter as long as you have round fruits on the table.

Filipinos believe that round is a symbol for prosperity and fortune – a tradition inherited from the Chinese. The round fruits are usually the centerpiece of the Media Noche.

Fruits with thorns namely pineapple, jackfruit and durian are also avoided as the thorns symbolise problems or obstacles.

Ang paghahanda ng mga bilog na prutas na pinaniniwalaang pampaswerte ay kabilang lamang sa tradisyon ng mga Pinoy tuwing magdiriwang ng Bagong Taon na ipinamana sa mga salinlahi. (Larawan mula sa Pinterest)


5. Eat sticky rice to strengthen family bond

Filipinos are popular to be family oriented with very close family ties. Because of this, 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. Eating these is also believed to deliver good fortune.

6. Eat pancit (noodles) for long life and fortune

This is yet another influence from the Chinese. Filipinos believe that eating pancit (long noodles) during new year will help bring luck and it also represents good health and long life.

7. No chicken and fish dishes
If there are food that are believed to bring good charm, there are also food that are considered are not suitable to eat during the new year celebration.

Some Filipinos do to abstain from eating chicken and fish, as they symbolise or are associated with food scarcity as part of the tradition.
8. Water and rice container should be full

It’s always great to welcome the new year abundantly, so many Filipinos make sure the their water and rice containers are full during the new year celebration because they believe that this will make their life prosperous all year round.

9. Collect coins
Another popular practice especially among children is to fill up one’s pockets with coins and shake the pockets at 12 midnight. This practice is believed to bring good fortune. Some also scatter coins around their house – at every nook and corner, inside drawers, on tables and anywhere they believe will bring them more luck and money.

10. Loud noise to drive away evil spirits
Many Filipinos believe fireworks help ward off evil spirits.
Another Chinese influence are the firecrackers and fireworks.

The main point of this is to make loud sounds in order to scare away evil spirits and elements and also to drive away bad luck.

Aside from pyrotechnics, others create loud noise using other means such as car horns, torotot (hornpipe) and even frying pans or pots.


11. Open doors, windows and turn on all the lights

Aside from food and coins that symbolise prosperity, another tradition is to open all doors, windows, drawers and cabinets to bring in good fortune and let the positive vibes in.

12. Debts must be paid off
Ideally, one should welcome the New Year debt free.

Filipinos believe that whatever is your financial state when the clock hits 12 midnight on new year’s day, will be the same financial status for the rest of the year.

One should also stuff one’s pockets or wallet with new bills or at least lots of money in order to invite wealth for the entire year.

13. Don’t spend on January 1
Filipinos that not spending a single peso on the first day of the year will lead to better financial management for the rest of the year. Because of this, Filipinos who would rather just stay at home on January 1 to avoid spending money.