New Year’s Day is the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It is the time at which a new calendar’s year counts increments by one and is observed on January 1. In present day, New Years Day is the most celebrated public holiday, where many Filipino families unite on New Year’s Eve celebrating a midnight meal known as the Media Noche. This is a week after the Christmas’ Noche Buena. Filipinos believe that we should put as much food on the table so that you will have food all year round.
|Image (c) Benson Kua/Flickr|
Aside from the traditions and superstitions to wear polka- dots prints or any circular designs to symbolize money, display twelve round fruits at the table for good luck, and for children to jump as high as they can so they would grow up tall, it is commonly observed with lighting fireworks making a lot of noise when the clock strikes twelve as New Year starts its reign.
Fireworks are Chinese inventions and were added to our traditions every New Year to bid the old year goodbye and welcome the upcoming year.
During the New Year’s Eve, in line with all the merriments, we still have to follow some safety precautions:
- Handle fireworks with caution. Use only authorized firecracker products and must buy only legal firecrackers from reputable stores and always read instructions and make sure to take all the necessary precautions before lighting them.
- When firecrackers fail to ignite, never attempt to re-light it. Otherwise, put it in a can of water and get rid of it.
- When firecracker strand ignites, move away and do not stand over it.
- If necessary you can install a smoke detector in your house to avoid tragedies of fire.
- Keep candles out of reach of children and flammable materials. Check for flaming cigarette butts or firecrackers and extinguish it properly.
- Wear safety apparel like baseball cap or hardhat, gloves, earplugs, facemask and goggles.
- Use a flat solid surface with no dry grass when lightning firecrackers.
- When someone got injured by a firecracker:
- Clean the wound by running the injured body part with cold water to reduce heat level.
- Have the burned area cleaned by dry cloth.
- Apply a topical anesthetic burn spray or Aloe Vera lotion/ cream to moisturize the burned area.
- Apply an antiseptic cream to the burned area and if necessary wrap it with clean soft sheets or gauze.
- If there are pains, take an analgesic like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
- If the burn is serious enough and cannot be handling by home remedies, the victim must be brought to the nearest hospital for medical treatment to avoid nasty infection or a bad case of tetanus.
- It is important to know what firecrackers are authorized to be used and those that are not. Go with fountains, lucis, sparklers, roman candles, and trumpillo. Bamboo canon is also familiar but to some who are adventurous, they will use the 5 star, “sawa”, Super Lolo, or maybe kwitis.
- Never get too drunk if you are driving home after the eve whether a car, motorbike, or bicycle.
To most Filipinos, lighting fireworks is a common belief that it would drive off bad luck and cast out malevolent spirits. New Year practices and traditions like this is a great part of our culture and describes a lot about the Philippines, however let us not just put out of our mind to be very extra vigilant.