Uncovering Filipinos' New Year superstitions
JUST a few days before New Year, some Filipinos find their way into the marketplace to buy things they deem will bring them luck next year. One good place to visit is Quiapo. You will see all sorts of “charms.” Vendors are everywhere. As you walk out of the Quiapo church on the way to Carriedo, you will surely have difficulty passing through R. Hidalgo street. The supposedly clear street that was renovated in 2006 is packed with sidewalk vendors this time of the year. The fruit vendors almost occupy the walkway making it harder for customers to pass through. “Hale, bili na. Dito mura! [Hey, buy now. We sell cheap here],” a vendor screamed as she persuaded people to check out her goods. Name rounded fruits, the vendors in Quiapo have it. Fruits of different sizes are available -- from the largest to the smallest. They have Kiat kiat, apple, chico, longan, watermelon, melon, grapes, dalandan, guava and Ponkan. At this time of the year, prices of fruits cost more. For example, grapes are sold at P200 a kilo. But during ordinary days, you can buy them at P120 to 150 a kilo. Fuji apples, which are usually sold at P5.00 a piece, can be bought at P10.00 a piece. So others prefer cheap fruits like guava and dalandan. Filipinos believe that displaying rounded fruits on the table will make for a “fruitful” year. This is one of the superstitions that Filipinos practice up to this day. No wonder, many people still flock to the marketplace to buy fruits, especially the round-shaped ones despite the economic crisis. Still on having round-shaped things around, Filipinos also believe that wearing polka dot clothes will attract good luck and hopefully money in the coming year. Polka dots were in vogue in the 60s. But for some Filipinos, luck is more important than fashion. Another superstitionFilipinos practice, which is largely influenced by the Chinese, is creating noise to welcome the New Year. It is believed that making noise drives bad luck away. Brenda, a vendor of torotots (handmade horns) say that unlike fruit vendors, she earns less from selling these lucky charms. “Mas pinipili nila ‘yung prutas kasi nakakain [People still chose to buy the fruits because they can eat them afterwards],” she says. While Filipinos cling to these superstitious beliefs, food remains the best lucky charm when they celebrate the New Year. At least this indicates that they still are lucky to have something on the table during these hard times.
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