Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Countdown Begins

Tic-toc-tic-toc.

You have 9 hours.

It’s now Sunday, December 31, 2006 here in Manila. New Year’s Eve.

Kids are already throwing firecrackers in the street, dads are calculating how much they’re going to spend in fireworks, and moms are busy shopping for polka-dot clothes and ANY round fruit they can find.

No worries. It’s all good. Never mind that firecrackers are unsafe and a handful of people (mostly children) are rushed to the emergency room with mangled hands every year. Never mind that people are wasting a sizeable portion of their year’s earnings for fireworks that will only light up for a few seconds. Never mind the stress, the hassle, of scouring for 12 assorted round fruits in a crowded wet market. Never mind that you look like a clown on a polka-dot blouse. Nevrmind all the touble (except for the mangled hands. I always imply a no firecracker rule in my family). It’s New Year’s Day. It only happens once a year anyway.

Largely influenced by Chinese Feng Shui, Filipinos have a template for celebrating New Year. We light up firecrackers, honk our car horns, bang metal drums, pots and pans and make all kinds of noise (when all things above aren’t available, you can just scream at the top of your lungs) when the clock hits 12 to drive away evil spirits. We wear polka-dotted clothes and adorn our homes with anything round, hang grapes on our window sills, and create a centerpiece out of 12 assorted round fruits on the table (because “round” symbolizes coins or money) for prosperity. Some vertically-challenged people jump, hoping they’ll gain a few inches to their height in the coming year. Yes, even adults.

We do all this things, and a lot of other quirky practices, because even if we’re not Chinese, we are faithful. We are believers, not to be mistaken as gullible. Besides, like we always say, “Wala namang mawawala eh” (“There’s no harm in trying anyway”).

No harm indeed, except for the mangled limbs.

Ooops, 8 hours. Time to dig into the vault and look for my red polka-dot boxers.

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2007 bring you and your family PEACE, LOVE & PROSPERITY!

Here’s my

GIFT

to you. (Make sure your speakers are on)

Cheers!

23 comments:

Erica Miss Cool-as-shit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica AP said...

Very nice!!! I love fireworks! Happy New Year to you too!!!

Dirk_Star said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Socky said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Read your latest post, noted the time and date and realized just how strangely we bloggers spend time waiting for New Year: blogging away, ano pa?! Congrats pala on your recent Araw wins.

SignGurl said...

Love the gift! Thanks.

Happy New Year!

kate said...

'red polka-dot boxers'? hehehe why do people wear polka dots?????

hehehe

Happy 2007! Hope its a great year!

Jim said...

Great gift!!!

Thanks,

Dirk_Star said...

Great fireworks!

Erase the comment about Allan will you?

Happy New Year!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Happy New Year my friend!

Thank you so much for sharing your culture and traditions with us. It is so wonderful to learn about you and your part of the world. Thanks for the fireworks too.

Greenery said...

Happy New Year, and Thanks.

I finally crawled out of my blog.

Wish I were in Manila!

Cinderella said...

Happy New Year!!! You are so wonderful to have shared those fireworks!! *Cheers* to a year filled with Love, Laughter and Good Health! =)

Craig D said...

Fascinating stuff, what with the polka dots, round fruit and all.

My wife and I konked out long before the magic hour. My big ritual was cleaning out the cat boxes before retiring. I'd LOVE to throw some M-80s in them, though.

HAPPY 2007!

The Wizened Wizard said...

Loved the gift of fireworks! (The forest is so very quiet this morning).

Happy New Year, Russkal!

russkal said...

Erica,

Glad you appreciated it. Stay cool this '07 dude!

Dirk,

Done! But what the? What's going on, dude?

I never actually have been to that site (it was my first time when you told me to) so I'm totally lost here...

Care to spill me the details?

You can email...

Socky,

Haha! That is so true. Tell you the truth, I'm hooked!

Thanks and Happy New year to you!

Mrs. Sign,

Thanks for dropping by. I'll be checking on you after this to see if Mr. Sign is okay (I hope).

Have a great new year ahead!

Kate,

Yup. It's weird, I know. My old folks oblige us to, but I wore my last polka-dot item of clothing during New Year way back in college. And I vow not to wear one again.

Ever!

Sir Jim,

It's an honor to have you at my blogsite. Thanks, and I really mean thanks for dropping by.

Hope you'll be my new "suki" as I have always been to your site.

Happy New Year!

Whim,

And to you too!

Much as I love sharing our culture to the world, I love it more when people like you, find it enriching.
So thank you.

Greenery,

Congratulations!

I salute you for taking time off your hectic schedule there in Baghdad and check on us (us being our little band of bloggin' gypsies, as Dirk puts it).

But hey, you're part of the family now, so welcome!

Let me know if and when they plan to send you guys here in Manila for an operation or something. Maybe I can be your tourist guide.

Cinders,

You're welcome. It's the least I can give to my friends here in Blogville.

Love, laughter & good health? I'll drink to that.

Cheers!

Craig,

What? You didn't stay up for the fire works? Man...

Well I hope you enjoyed what I had in store for you guys, at least.

Say hi to the feline fellas for me, will ya?

Happy New Year! And thanks for dropping by.

russkal said...

Wiz,

Happy to know you liked it.

Happy New Year to you too, and say hi to Sigmund, Bambi, and the rest of the forest dudes for me, will you?

skeet said...

I liked it so much I put the fireworks up on my site also! I couldn't get your blog to open yesterday, so mahalo to coming over to my place, and for your good wishes. (The problem was with my browser, not your site.)

We have some of the same traditions over here, but I didn't know about round things, probably because I stay home keeping the dogs calm on fireworks days, lol. With our huge Asian population I'm sure there are a lot of people here that wore polka-dots last night.

Best wishes to you and your family for a fabulous 2007!

Dirk_Star said...

Send me your email addy!

schaumi said...

hope you stayed safe this new year.
best to you and your family.

Rach said...

interesting...it was always a tradition in my family to bang pots and pans together. I was never really sure why we wanted to make so much noise. Wonder if this is where it originated?

Happy New Year !!

The Wizened Wizard said...

I hope that after the last firecracker goes boom and the hangover wears off you will drop in to learn a little something about "the birds and the bees..." as they relate to Mr. & Mrs. Dirk.

bardhol said...

Hi, thanks for sharing! I hope you made it through the New Year pyrotechnics without losing any body parts...

Dirk_Star said...

Did I mention my award winning post for this morning?

Its nothing really...

Just an award.

No biggie...

Forget I even said anything about it.

No, really.

russkal said...

To all,

Sorry for the delayed reply.

Skeet,

My toy poodles went berserk too! Poor dogs. I can't blame them though. The way those firecrakers were crackin', it sounded like World War III just erupted.

Schaumi,

Thanks. We hid behind huge pots and pans to keep us safe from stray firecrackers.

Rach,

Could be. I never really knew why until I grew up. Back then, I just thought that everybody was just so darn happy, they're going crazy!

Wiz,

On my way now. Like I said, sorry for the delay.

Bardhol,

Thanks for stopping by. No, we didn't lose anything except our hearing that evening.

Dirk,

Well yet another award bestowed upon ye. I'm going now to read it and see if it's worthy.