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Fascinating Filipino Traditions to Experience This New Year

Filipino woman playing with leaves
Be open-minded and let your Filipino girlfriend take the reins. That’s how to truly enjoy the New Year.

Filipinos are renowned all over the world for their strong sense of community and adherence to cultural and family traditions. If ever you were to attend several Filipino community parties, whether in the USA, Europe, or in the Philippines itself, you would be amazed at how similarly and consistently they are celebrated. Filipinos always celebrate, without fail, with copious amounts of native food, karaoke, and the presence of beautiful Filipino women.

If you happen to be dating such a beautiful Filipino woman, then expect to attend a lot of parties. And if you plan to spend Christmas and New Year’s in the Philippines, then you might need to work on your stamina Rocky-style, since the partying will be non-stop.

Try to familiarize yourself the best you can with Filipino customs because you aren’t there just to be with your girlfriend, but to make a good impression on her family. As accommodating and hospitable as they may be, you wouldn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

As a general rule, Filipino traditions are an amalgamation of practices acquired during the Spanish colonial era, mainland Chinese influence, and ever-evolving popular culture. While it can get confusing for an outsider to see practices seemingly picked out from several different cultures, these traditions invoke a strong sense of pride, community, and nostalgia for Filipinos all around the globe.

Here are a few practices you are likely to see in Filipino households come the new year:

Scattering coins around the house

philippine peso coins
Leaving coins in every space around the house could bring wealth into your life.

The first thing you ought to know about Filipinos is that they tend to get very superstitious - even if they don’t believe in any particular superstition at all. They might do certain things “just in case,” or because that’s what “everyone else is doing.”

One of those superstitions is leaving coins in every corner and crevice around the house. This isn’t a case of “keeping your money under your mattress” literally. They do it out of the belief that this brings them good luck and fortune.

Therefore next time you’re at your girlfriend’s house and you see coins right under the flower pot, leave them there and keep the good fortune in that home.

Eating pancit for long life

pancit on a white plate
The longer the noodle you eat, the longer you’ll live.

According to many foreigners, pancit is one of their favorite Filipino foods. Pancit is an umbrella term for any Filipino noodle dish. Influenced by Chinese belief that noodles bring us long life, it is customary for Filipinos to have pancit at every relevant family event. This is made clear because someone at the table will verbally declare “long life” as soon as he takes his first bite of pancit.

If you are with your Filipino girlfriend, it may do you well to bless your relationship with longevity by having a hefty serving of pancit.

Make a lot of noise

New Year’s in the Philippines might be bright, but it’ll definitely be loud.

One of the hallmark signs that you’ve attended a Filipino New Year’s Eve party will be a loss of hearing. Being the superstitious people that they are, they believe that making inhumane amounts of noise as the clock strikes 12 serves to drive evil spirits away.

While they achieve this by banging on pots and pans and yelling like there’s no tomorrow, the primary instrument of choice for adults and children alike is the torotot, a hornpipe-like instrument so aptly named for the sound that it makes. An introverted and quiet-loving person’s worst nightmare, the torotot comes in all sizes and colors, perfect for New Year memorabilia.

Depending on where you are in the Philippines, you may experience an all-night frenzy of fireworks or absolutely none at all. This is because certain cities have chosen to ban fireworks for safety reasons. But aside from the obvious light show, you will be able to tell if a city is tolerant towards fireworks because of the streets resembling a warzone the very next morning.

Wearing polka-dots

woman with polka dot dress
Don’t want to miss out on that good fortune? Wear polka dots on New Year’s Day.

Not to miss every opportunity to attract all that good fortune, Filipinos don polka-dot designed outfits for New Year’s. Of course, not every single person in the community does it because they actually care about style, but those who can pull off this outdated fashion do so with utmost confidence.

A variety of fruits on the table

basket of fruits
Fruits aren’t just healthy, they're lucky as well.

Because you can never have too much luck, fortune-seeking families set up a platter of 12 round fruits as the centerpiece on the dinner table. 12 is a number associated with luck and represents each of the months of the year.

A total feast

chinese filipino food
Filipinos can have different themes when it comes to the New Year’s feast, as long as there’s more than enough food to go around.

If you see a modest amount of food on the table, it simply means you stumbled on the wrong household, and they definitely aren’t Filipino.

All Filipino parties and events are probably just excuses to practice gluttony, given their history with food. A very interesting thing to notice is that each family has their own way of preparing meals. Some families lean towards native Filipino foods like glutinous rice cakes, pancit, lechon, etc. Some go for tarts, pies, ham, and pasta. Others go the Chinese route, with dim sum, dumplings, ducks, and more.

Whichever route they go, New Year’s is going to be a banging feast. And like clockwork, all participants are going to vow to lose weight as their main New Year’s resolution.

It’s all about genuine relationships

filipino family
At the heart of all these New Year’s traditions is family and relationships.

At the heart of every Filipino celebration is relationships. It’s what makes them the endearing people we all know them to be. But here is one thing you should remember: The fact that you are celebrating New Year’s with your Filipino girlfriend’s family means that you have been welcomed into their home to be part of their family.

It also means that she cares about you and wants you to be a part of her future. So here’s one resolution you should make: That you should celebrate the next new year with her. And the one after that. And so on.

So take these Filipino family traditions to heart. You may not be superstitious, nor interested in acquiring good luck. But these traditions bind people together. They bind you to history. That only adds to the richness of your relationship with a Filipino woman.

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