Getting ready to celebrate the new year? We've got the top Filipino New Year's Eve Food and Traditions to help you enjoy a fun and festive transition into the new year!
How do Filipinos celebrate New Year's Eve? With lots of delicious Filipino food and longstanding traditions and superstitions!
Growing up in a Filipino-American household, I was keenly aware from a young age the importance of certain holiday traditions. And holiday feasts with endless platters of sweet and savory Filipino foods were always a part of every new year celebration dinner table.
If you're curious about some of the more common Filipino New Year's Eve foods and traditions, keep reading!
💫 Media noche
Perhaps the most common of family traditions is the New Year's celebration known as media noche. Family members come together for a lavish midnight feast on New Year's Eve to ring in the new year.
In the Filipino culture, it is popular practice to partake in Filipino traditions and lucky foods that symbolize prosperity, abundance, good health, and good fortune for the coming year.
Be sure to check out our entire collection of Filipino recipes here!
🎊 Popular New Year's Eve traditions
As a kid, our family had so many different superstitions. And many of the traditions carried out through generations of Filipino families stem from superstitions.
While every family and different parts of the Philippines has different New Year's traditions, here are a few common ones.
- Round fruits - Many Filipino households display 12 round fruits to bring in wealth and prosperity, symbolizing good fortune for each month of the year. The fruits are often a centerpiece on the dining table during Media Noche.
- Opening doors and windows - To let go of negative energy and welcome positive vibes, it is customary for households to open doors and windows at midnight. Some also believe that it allows the good spirits to enter.
- Wearing circles - Wearing polka dots and incorporating circular patterns into clothing and decor is believed to bring good luck and wealth. The round shapes symbolize coins and are associated with prosperity.
- Jumping at midnight - At the exact moment of midnight, it is a common tradition for people to jump up. This is done to ensure a growth spurt, signifying increased height and progress in the next year.
- Making noise - In addition to jumping at the stroke of midnight, you're also supposed to make a lot of loud noises. We do this by banging pots and pans, blowing horns, pressing car horns, and using various noisemakers. This tradition rooted in the belief that the loud sounds scare away evil spirits or bad spirits, and bad luck.
🥳 Top Filipino New Year's Eve Food
And of course, as the new year approaches, there is the Media Noche feast, featuring the best of Filipino cuisine!
Here are some more common Filipino new year's food traditions. These are enjoyed at the New Year's Eve dinner table at midnight, and/or the first day of the new year.
- Round fruits - Lucky fruits that have a generally round shape, such as oranges, apples, round grapes, lychee, pomegranate, mango, watermelon. These are typically arranged in a round basket or displayed decoratively on the dining table.
- Lechon - Lechon is often the centerpiece of the feast. A whole pig is roasted until the skin is crispy, and the meat is tender. It's served with a liver-based sauce called "sarsa."
- Pancit - Pancit is a traditional Filipino noodle dish incorporating a mix of meats and vegetables. The different types of Pancit are named based on the different long noodles you can use. It's often enjoyed to symbolize long life at the start of a new year. Pancit is often served on a large platter for communal sharing. Try our Pancit Canton recipe or our Pancit Bihon recipe.
- Fish - The fish is often served whole, symbolizing unity and abundance. It can be accompanied by a side of atchara (pickled papaya). Try our Trout Meuniere recipe.
- Adobo - Adobo is a savory stew made by marinating meat in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar before simmering until tender. It's served with rice. Try our popular Instant Pot Chicken Adobo recipe!
- Ham - Ham is typically baked and served sliced. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and is often accompanied by a sweet glaze. Try our Air Fryer Ham recipe.
- Biko - Biko is a sweet rice cake traditionally molded into round or rectangular shapes and served on banana leaves. It is often a dessert or a sweet snack. Try our Biko recipe.
- Cake - While a cassava cake is more traditional, we also like to serve a taisan cake. This is a Filipino chiffon cake loaf that's light and airy, and topped with a sugary cheese topping. Try our Taisan recipe.
Growing up, I really enjoyed having so many traditions and feasts around New Year's Eve. I hope you found one or two traditions and a few recipes you can incorporate into your New Year's Eve traditions as well. May you all have a joyous and prosperous new year!
🌟 More Filipino recipes
You can view all of our Filipino recipes here. But here are a few to start:
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