We Celebrate New Year's Eve

In the Philippines, New Year's Eve is a grand event that calls for a grand celebration, featuring fireworks, concerts, street and house parties, family gatherings, and reunions.

Preparations before the stroke of midnight include wearing new clothes, especially polka dotted ones, and making sure purses and bags at home contain several coins. Doors and windows of houses are opened wide to welcome good fortune, and lights in all rooms are turned on to enable members of the household to make enlightened decisions throughout the year.

Despite the Department of Health's Oplan Iwas Paputok campaign, many households light up fireworks in their yards or on the streets, because to them, the New Year should be welcomed with a bang. Then, the family gathers around the Media Noche dinner table, which may have lechon, queso de bola and jamon, fruit salad, leche flan, rellenong manok, and morcon, and, most importantly, dozen round-shaped fruits for an abundant year and good fortune. Families thank the Lord for the year just past and to ask that the New Year will usher in better days ahead in terms of good health, good fortune, and beautiful events for the members of the household.

Let us take time to thank the Lord for the blessings as well as the challenges of the past year, and ask Him to guide us that we may experience a better year ahead. Let us reflect as individuals and as a family on how we can have a better 2013. Because in reality, the loud noises that we make, the polka-dotted clothes we don, and the 12 round fruits on our family Media Noche table cannot, by themselves, make for a better 2013. Only with our own effort and hard work, and by the grace of God, will we have a brighter, happier, and more prosperous 2013.

A safe and blessed New Year to everyone! MABUHAY!