FIREWORKS, family gatherings around midnight, and fellowship and goodwill in communities are expected tonight as we welcome the New Year.
With the customary revelry comes the anticipation that the New Year will bring more blessings, an optimism that is part of the character of Filipinos that has served us well, in good and not so good times.
Many of the traditions that accompany our New Year’s Eve celebration will be observed by families – from the dozen round fruits on the dinner table that are believed to bring good luck, to polka dots on clothes that do the same, to the encouragement for children to jump as high as they can so that they would gain more height in the New Year. Turning on all the lights in the house and opening all windows and doors are supposed to invite all the good spirits in. These practices add a folk dimension to a jubilant celebration.
Children and adults alike will also troop to the streets to welcome the New Year. We do hope that in doing so, they will heed the advice of the Department of Health to stay clear of danger, to make noise without the risk of injuring themselves.
Although the incidence of fireworks-related injuries and death has declined over the years, proof that the Department of Health’s Iwas Paputok campaign has worked, there is really no reason for any one to bid the year goodbye and welcome the New Year in a hospital.
Beyond these practices, however, one must not neglect the fundamental truth, that the New Year is a blessing from the Almighty and those of us who remain faithful must welcome the year not only with revelry but with reverence to His grace.