Today, though, starts a new year and a new blog entry. New Year's in our family usually entails setting up the house to help for a prosperous year. Filipino tradition requires that on the eve of New Years, one must place a large basket of 13 different kinds of fruits on the dining table for a bountiful year. This is what my bountiful basket looked like:
Yes, there are 13 different kinds of fruits in there. You must also have 7 of each of those fruits in there. Every year, my dad and I usually go to a local produce market to buy all the different kinds of fruits. I wasn't able to set up my house last year because I didn't take the 31st off. This year, I decided to take it off so I can have time to prepare for the new year.
I also hung 13 pieces of grapes on the vine over all the doors that enter my house, as well as over our bedroom doors. These represent good luck for the new year as well. For luck in money, I tossed coins into the house leading to our bedrooms. So I had coins all over our floors to help bring money into the house. Finally, a full basket of mandarin oranges sat by our front door for more luck. This, I believe, is a chinese tradition that my mom came to learn about.
I know doing all of this can be quite cumbersome. But as my parents put it, it doesn't hurt to put a little effort to bring in more luck. So I always make the effort to carry out as much of the traditions as I can. And that's what its all about - tradition. Its part of my culture, a part of who I am, and how I grew up. I want to be able to share this with my daughter and have her become accustomed to it. A lot of traditions get lost from generation to generation for many people. Mainly because they don't want to put the effort into it. So for me, doing this is not cumbersome. Its quite fun for me, actually.
After we get our house set up, we head off to my parents for the New Year's celebration. They also have their house set up, as well as a large spread of food on their table:
My parents believe that having a large spread of food to ring in the new year means you'll always have plenty of food on the table for the year. So on top of my mom's foods, I also put in my share by bringing or cooking more food. This year, I brought in some cupcakes from my favorite cupcake store, Yummy Cupcakes. I also cooked my Zuppa Toscana, that they always seem to request me to make every new year's eve, and my Creamed Corn. The theme of the food every New Year's is anything round-shaped so that your luck is never-ending. Cupcakes, fruits, round filipino delicacies (such as puto and kutsinta, both of which are a versions of rice cakes), stuffed mushrooms.......you get the idea. We also had baked ham on our table. There is a saying that my mom follows, and this is as close to the translation as I can get, which means that for every cock that crows, it will also mean struggle or hardship. Therefore, poultry is never served or eaten during New Year's eve by any of us. Hence the baked ham.
My family is quite superstitious, to say the least. But if it means good luck for me for the year, I say it doesn't hurt. I believe that in order for the luck to happen, each fruit we bought for the basket must be eaten. There is no way that hubby, daughter and I would be able finish all that fruit! I have so much fruit left over that I'll most likely end up bringing them to work to share with everyone. Its good to share, especially at the start of the new year.
Happy New Year everyone! May you all have a prosperous and bountiful year!!!!