Top 5 New Year Food Superstitions in the Philippines

Filipinos prepare for the New Year's Eve feast more elaborately than they do the Christmas Eve meal. And while the Christmas Eve meal is steeped in family traditions, the New Year's Eve meal is characterized by cultural superstitions. There are so many but these are the most popular.

  • 01 of 05

    Eat 12 Round Fruits at the Stroke of Midnight

    Round fruits
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    One version calls for twelve round grapes, while another version requires twelve different round fruits. Whichever version is followed, the fruits have to be on the dining table at midnight and every person must eat all twelve. In the second version, it is not necessary to eat twelve whole fruits; a bite from each kind suffices.

    The round fruits represent prosperity as the shape resembles the gold and silver coins of olden days. This superstition is also tied to the belief that wearing a polka-dotted shirt or dress on New Year's Eve will lead to a prosperous new year.

  • 02 of 05

    Eating Chicken on New Year's Eve Will Usher in a Year of Poverty

    Roast Chicken
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    An anecdote explains this superstition best. There were two women, house helpers it appeared, who were arguing about what to buy and cook for New Year’s Eve. One was about to get some chicken but the other objected and told her, “Naku huwag, ayaw ni Sir n’yan kasi buong darating na taon na isang kahig, isang tuka.” Literally translated this means, “Oh, no, Sir wouldn’t like that because that means it’ll be scratch and peck [a figure of speech for living in poverty] throughout the coming year.”

    It is the chicken's way of eating that associates it with hardship and poverty. As unfair as that may seem, chicken is not a top choice for dishes served on New Year's Eve.

  • 03 of 05

    Eat Long Noodles for a Long and Healthy Life

    Chinese stir-fried noodles
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    Noodles are not indigenous to Filipino cuisine ​but were introduced by Chinese traders. The Filipinos adopted noodles into their regional cuisines along with the superstitions surrounding them. Eating noodles for longevity is essentially a Chinese belief observed in birthday celebrations and in Chinese New Year celebrations. The practice has found its way into the Filipinos' New Year food superstitions.

  • 04 of 05

    Eat Something Sticky for Good Fortune to Stick

    Sticky rice cakes
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    There are two versions of this superstition and both are anchored on the sticky characteristic of a dish. In the first version, the stickiness represents a closely-knit family. In the second version, the stickiness is like a magnet that attracts good fortune that stays with the person.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Fill the Cupboards to Keep Them Full All Year

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    This was something that families observe to prevent hunger and food scarcity in the household. Containers of basic food items like rice, salt, and sugar are filled to the brim before midnight to ensure that they stay that way in the coming year.