It’s the last week of 2015! When I was a child, a few days before New Year’s Eve, I never quite understood why my parents would be running around more so than usual. My mom always said they were “preparing” for the new year. Growing up we had some quirky yet fun traditions that are now happily being passed onto my nephews. While many are not unique to Filipino culture, some are rooted from my parents’ experiences growing up there and I thank them for instilling them so they will carry on for generations. Ring in 2016 with some of these or create your own!
An abundance fresh food – down to filling the salt and pepper containers!
Having the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer stocked with new groceries signifies having prosperity and good health in the New Year. Make grocery lists together so food shopping with children is more of a scavenger hunt rather than a task.
A bowl of round fruits
In my family it’s considered auspicious to have bright-colored round fruit displayed in bowls around the house to help ring in the New Year. Since you’ll already be stocking the kitchen, raid the fruit department with your children and make some delicious good-luck fruit bowls! Even better, spread some cheer – make one as a gift for a neighbor or relative too!
Clean out, clear out
We clean out everything from kitchen shelves, storage bins, and closets at this time of year. Everything in good, clean condition that is no longer needed gets donated to a local charity. Teach your family that the spirit of giving doesn’t always equate to a perfectly wrapped gift and that there are people who would appreciate something that they aren’t using anymore. Take some time to help them go through their belongings and donate one item for every new gift they’ve received. Take some shopping bags or storage bins and draw fun signs that say “donate” or “recycle / trash” and make it a sorting party! Who knew cleaning could be so entertaining?
Resolution List vs. Gratitude List = Do both!
While it’s important to focus on goals, what we want to work on and talk about them with children, it’s also important to take time to realize what’s already good and what we’re already succeeding with to propel us in a positive direction during the New Year. My mother continues to remind us all that we need to be grateful for each day. We can make laundry lists of things we want to “fix” but reminding our little ones to be thankful for the everyday things is just as important.
We make sure that there is money in our pockets and wallets when it rings midnight to represent good fortune and success. During our gigantic Filipino parties I remember being a little kid and getting dollar bills and quarters from my parents, titas (aunties), and titos (uncles). We’d jingle the coins in our pockets during the countdown!
Float your way to the top!
My mother grew up cooking these with her Lola (grandmother) and she continues to cook them now that she is one herself! Palitaw is a Filipino sweet dessert made of sticky rice flour that are formed into patties then put in boiling water. You know they’re cooked when the patties float to the top of the water’s surface which signifies rising above the previous year and ascending to a new and fresh chapter.
Open up the windows and make some noise
In the Philippines it is common to open the windows to allow fresh energy to enter your home and life. As an East Coaster, it is always freezing yet I continue to do this even on the coldest of New Year’s Eves. Children are usually given firecrackers to light up but make sure you assist and monitor these!
When it comes down to it, spending time with family and friends is the most important, even if it’s just watching the Times Square countdown on television together! Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and joyful 2016!
By Christina Soriano, Shine Educator