Kissing at midnight. That's so passe. So simple.
Ringing in the new year is so rewarding (and a lot of work) when you're Filipino.
Don't believe me? Just explaining it to a co-worker was exhausting. And of course, his reaction to our "traditions" was priceless.
Seriously, who else but a Filipino would run to the grocery store on New Year's Eve simply because she was out of grapes?
Yes, grapes. The girl who doesn't eat fruit unless it is stuffed in a beautiful piece of bakery needed grapes. Because at midnight, you have to eat 12 grapes, one grape for each month of the upcoming year. Grapes signify prosperity.
I had to make sure there was money in Amara and my wallets and purses so a run to the ATM was needed. Filipinos believe money in your pockets at the stroke of midnight will mean money in your possession all year long. We also throw coins in the air at midnight too to bring prosperity into our home.
What else did we do as the ball dropped in Times Square?
It's winter yet my front door and windows were open. Had to let the bad mojo of 2012 out and allow the good blessings of 2013 in.
Every light fixture and lamp was on, illuminating the entire neighborhood. Had to ensure the new year will be bright.
And noisemakers? Not for Filipinos. They're not loud enough. We had to make as much noise as possible to drive away the evil spirits. So only pots and pans would do.
My favorite ritual? Amara was forced to jump 12 times at midnight. Filipino children jump as high as they can because that's how tall they will hopefully grow. (This obviously didn't work too well for me as I am a nice 5 foot 3.)
Still seem easy to you? How about cleaning the house - floor to ceiling? A clean home to start the year means a clean home year round. Bye bye dust. Same goes for laundry. All of our closets are organized and the laundry baskets empty.
Just don't complete household chores today because cleaning on New Year's Day means you'll be doing it all. year. long.
It doesn't stop there.
We'll be eating noodles today for a long life.
But stay away from dishes that include poultry. Chickens scrounge around for food, so you wouldn't want to be searching for food in the new year now would you?
Given how 2012 shaped up, I can't take any chances. So every ritual will be observed. I learned a lot in 2012 but 2013 is going to be better. I promise.