You have 9 hours.
It’s now Sunday, December 31, 2006 here in
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!
to you. (Make sure your speakers are on)