Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
Since time immemorial, fruits – whether fresh or dried – have been a natural staple diet for us. Replete with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, they are easily digestible. In some parts of the world, fruits serve as medicines and can treat ailments.
Fruits, eaten raw or consumed as fresh juice, are excellent ways to retain and balance the body’s moisture level. The low sodium level in fruits plays an important role for people who would like to make use of a salt-free diet.
Recent scientific studies have also claimed that the naturally occurring antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetable juices can help lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, fruits are known for their ability to promote detoxification in the human body. Fruits help to cleanse the body, especially those with high acid levels.
Being a tropical country, fruits are available throughout the year and in many parts of the country. During the Christmas season, fruits are aplenty at home. They add color to the celebration: yellow, red, green, brown, and in-between. Children and adults love to eat them.
After Christmas comes, New Year’s Eve is on December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year’s Day.
Generally, Filipinos celebrate New Year’s Eve with the company of family and close friends. Traditionally, most households stage a dinner party named Media Noche in their homes. Typical dishes include pansit, hamon, and if the family could afford it, lechon, which is usually considered as the centerpiece of the dinner table. Barbecued food is also an integral part of the menu.
Most Filipinos follow a set of traditions that are typically observed during New Year’s Eve. Included among these traditions is the customary habit of wearing clothes with circular patterns like polka dots. This signifies the belief that circles attract money and fortune. Throwing coins at the stroke of midnight is said to increase riches that years.
There’s also that tradition of gathering 12 kinds of rounded fruits before the coming of the New Year. Again, the reason for such tradition is to augur the good fortune, health, and wealth in the year that comes.
But some people also gather more than 12 fruits. These people don’t believe that number 13 brings bad luck. So, they buy fruits like apple, lanzones(langsats), chico, orange, melon, guava, rambutan, santol, mangosteen, mango, grapes, and pomelo. At the center of these fruits is a pineapple because, according to Chinese folks, the many eyes reflect good luck winking many times.
As the clock is clicking, just remember the songs of the words penned by Barry Banilow: “Tonight’s another chance to start again. It’s just another New Year’s Eve, another night like all the rest. It’s just another New Year’s Eve, let’s make it the best.”