By Leslie Ann Aquino and Christina Hermoso
As the nation observes the time-tested New Year’s Eve traditions, prelates called on everybody to stay safe and avoid polluting the environment by shunning the use of firecrackers during the revelry.
“I remind our people to join in not polluting our atmosphere by burning fireworks,” Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said.
Instead of firecrackers, he said Filipinos should use other things like basin or old cans to make noise.
Ongtioco said avoiding the use of firecrackers is also for their own safety.
“Many people get hurt because of these firecrackers,” he said.
Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy also discouraged the use of firecrackers in welcoming the New Year.
“Let’s have a clean and healthy Christmas and New Year by, saying no to firecrackers and fireworks,” he said in a Facebook post.
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos has made it his yearly appeal to the faithful to use the money allotted for firecrackers to help the needy such as the victims of calamities.
“For this New Year to be safe, refrain from firecrackers or firing guns,” he said.
“What we saved from firecrackers, let us save and share with those in need or the victims of calamities,” added Santos.
The Balanga prelate said doing acts of kindness is the best way to welcome the New Year.
“Welcome our New Year with acts of kindness. Let us not make noises with firecrackers and gun firing,” said Santos.
He added that doing good deeds “speaks louder” and lasts a lifetime.
It has been the tradition of Filipinos to welcome the New Year with firecrackers.
New Year’s Eve traditions
Meanwhile, the time-tested New Year’s Eve traditions that will be observed around the country tonight are intended to invite good fortune, good health, and prosperity well as to ward off bad luck and negative energies for the brand new 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 twelve months of the year 2020. 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 coming 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 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.
Catholic churches traditionally celebrate New Year’s Eve masses between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to protect churchgoers from the danger posed by firecrackers. In Rome, Italy, Pope Francis is scheduled to preside over the First Vespers and the “Te Deum” mass of thanksgiving at 5 p.m. at the Saint Peter’s Basilica.