By Leslie Ann Aquino and Christina Hermoso
Leaders of the Catholic Church have reminded the faithful that it is God who makes things happen and not certain customs and practices to attract good luck during the New Year.
“It is God who makes things happen. It is God who blesses us and not these things (lucky charms),” Father Roy Bellen of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Communications said.
Bellen also urged the faithful to usher in the New Year with their families.
“Spend New Year with the family and not outside drinking with your friends. You should spend the first day of the year with the family. This also shows what’s important in your life,” he said.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos said: “The New Year is our time to rise from our darkness. God is so good, so gracious that He is giving us fresh opportunities, another chance in life.”
“New Year is our time to rise up from our darkness, from our insignificant life and mediocre ways and relationships. Thus we rise up to be better persons, exemplary leaders, and try to be the best of ourselves,” said.
The New Year, the prelate said, gives every person an opportunity to start fresh.
“With a brand-new year, we can correct our mistakes and remedy our defects. We can and must rise up from our failures and we can still be the best with what God wills and wants us to be. Not all is lost despite our numerous mistakes. We can start anew. And we can make a difference. This new year, be a blessing to others. Don’t burden anyone. Don’t bully. But become like Jesus and be the source of blessings to all,” Santos said.
Retired Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez said the only way for Filipinos to be lucky not only this year but in the years to come is if they will have a positive outlook in life.
‘We should always be optimistic. Something new is given to us and it’s all up to us how we are going to make use of it for the good,” he said.
Good luck practices
Meanwhile, time-tested New Year’s Eve traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation will be observed across the country tonight to invite good fortune, good health, and prosperity for the brand-new year as well as to ward off bad luck and negativity.
The sound of firecrackers and all sorts of merry-making that are meant to ward off evil spirits and bad luck will, once again, fill the air although only in designated firecracker areas with the government’s ban on firecrackers this year.
In many homes, a basket of 12 circular fruits will form part of the centerpiece on dining tables for prosperity in each of the 12 months of the year 2019. Many will also be eating 12 round fruits while wearing red or clothes with polka dots or anything that has circles on it for good fortune. Some will throw coins or shake coins inside metal containers and fill their pockets with coins while walking around the house for improved finances in the new year.
Lights will be turned on in every corner of the house. Coins will be placed on staircases, inside pockets, windows, and doors, which will be flung open at the onset of the New Year – all in the spirit of attracting good fortune and more blessings.
Children will also be made to jump in the belief that this will help them grow taller. New Year resolutions are also traditionally listed down.
Families will then gather for the traditional Media Noche or midnight meal, a feast that, like the Noche Buena on Christmas Eve, symbolizes hopes for closer family ties as well as for a prosperous new year ahead. This tradition is also held in thanksgiving for the blessings of the year gone by. Many celebrate the last day of the year with mixed emotions – joy and reflection – hearts filled with hope for the brand-new year.