93% of Pilipinos facing 2011 with hope rather than fear

LOUD noise mostly from exploding firecrackers in cities and booming bamboo cannons in towns increases today as New Year approaches and the Old Year bids farewell to all.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from Nov. 27 to 30, showed 93 percent of Pilipinos or nine in 10 Pinoys were entering 2011 with hope, an improvement of last year’s 89 percent.

In the Philippines, New Year is a riotous and rowdy celebration because of Filipino Chinese superstitious beliefs that bad and evil spirits must be warded off by noise.

Firecrackers have names like Bawang or Garlic, Trayanggulo or Triangle, Watusi (with crackling sparks), Judas Belt, Super Lolo, Whistle Bomb, Kwitis (with flying exploding top), Fountain (that looks like a Christmas tree), Scud Missile, Air Wolf, Crying Cow (instead of exploding it moos), Whistle Joy, Goodbye Earth, Trumpillo and Sawa, literally, it means python with 500 to 5,000 rounds of firecrackers, highly poisonous Piccolo and Five Star.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said yesterday that the number of firecracker- related injuries could reach 1,000 by Jan. 1. The projected figure for accidents is five times higher than what DOH has monitored since Dec. 21 with 173 firecrackers – related mishaps.

Seventy-seven percent of the injuries were caused by illegal

He said people are more optimistic and generally happier this year so there is possibility that firecracker use will increase to welcome the New Year and so accidents.

Cautious citizens are expected to just light sizzling sparklers or beat drums or banyera and pans, toot car horns, blow pito and ring bells. They may not sound sirens after it was banned by President Aquino.

The traditional midnight mass is now held earlier in time for Media Noche or midnight meal, a sumptuous meal for the family members. Like in Noche Buena, a midnight meal also shared by the family after the midnight mass or Misa de gallo, table is laden with foods.

Twelve types of round-shaped fruits such as apple, orange or grape representing the 12 months of the year are eaten for good luck.

Everyone dresses for the New Year. New clothes are worn, preferably with polka dots or in “prosperity colors” of red ,  yellow or gold.

Clothes must have deep pockets filled with new money bills and plenty of coins which are jingled vigorously at the stroke of midnight for good fortune.

To invite prosperity into homes, room are lit and coins at various denominations are scattered on window sills and doors steps.

Doors are left slightly open or ajar to let in the good luck of the New Year.

When church bells ring at midnight hugs and kisses follow and many amilies say a prayer. When there is champagne, glasses are toasted together and all sing “Auld Lang Syne”.


The youth of today will be surprised to know that the Three Kings were the Santa Clauses of their grandparents’ generation.

For centuries,  magical  bearer of gifts for Filipino children were the Three Kings, not Santa Claus.

The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated on the first Sunday of January. The feast is also called   Ephimany which commemorates the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.

They were called Melchor, meaning King of Light; Gaspar, the “White One”; and Baltazar, “The Lord of Treasure.”

The Uncommon Touch wishes everyone a Prosperous Happy New Year and a Happy Three Kings! Cornelio de Guzman

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