By Hilda Austria
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Like other Filipinos, Pangasinan folks have been used to welcoming the New Year with noises with the belief that loud sounds cast away bad luck for the coming year and many other superstitious and practical ways.
The “torotot” (trumpet) as well as kitchen utensils made of aluminum or steel are favorite noisemakers year after year as these are considered safe and affordable.
Following the countdown on televisions or radios, families gather outside their homes blowing the torotot and hitting the casserole, frying pan or pot with ladle to produce noises as everyone jumps in hope to grow his height or in their career, relationship, finances and in life as a whole.
The different national government agencies and the provincial government of Pangasinan have been urging the public to shy away totally from using firecrackers and use legally allowed during the New Year revelry.
Pangasinan Gov. Ramon Guico III has advised Pangasinenses to use alternative noisemakers and even urged the local government units to have their own community fireworks display in welcoming the New Year.
“For those near the capitol area, there is no need to use firecrackers as we are going to have pyrotechnics and fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. Let us just watch together and enjoy the celebration safely,” he said in a press conference.
Guico said 14 provincial government-run hospitals and other concerned agencies in the province will be monitoring on that day to assist emergency cases.
“I will issue an Executive Order reiterating Republic Act 7183 (An Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution, and Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices) to the local chief executives and chiefs of police,” he said.
Guico appealed to the public to target zero firecracker-related incidents for this New Year celebration. “Please let us look out for our family members, especially the men, because most of the injured during the revelry were men,” he added.
DTI Pangasinan Director Natalia Dalaten likewise reminded the public to buy certified products from certified stores to prevent accidents or injuries.
Relatedly, Nanay Delia Austria, of Malasiqui town, will serve on New Year’s Eve 12 kinds of round fruits, chocolates or native cakes or whatever is available as round shape is deemed good luck for finances.
She said they usually have watermelon, oranges, longan, puto (native rice cakes), among others, on their table comes the celebration.
Couple Arnold and Regina Martin have been used to placing one-peso coin in their house’s windows and in their pockets.
“We don’t cling unto it as if it is the only way to be blessed financially because we trust in God to bless us. We are just used to doing it every year,” they explained.
Native rice cakes are also believed to help maintain close family ties thus these are also present on tables. On the other hand, many local folks believe “chicken dishes are somewhat bad luck for New Year as it would make good fortune literally fly away.”
Many others, however, ignore this belief as fried chicken is still one of the best dishes especially for children. Another belief associated with New Year is that whatever you do on the first day of the year would influence one’s whole year life.
A local entrepreneur, Enzo Austria, said he would like to open his food stall on January 1 after the New Year revelry to welcome a good year for his business. (PNA)