Top 8 Philippine Media Noche Culinary Traditions
Fiesta, Graduation, Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas and New Years are just some of the few examples where food is the centre of attention in the Philippines, these occasions are the time where food is bountiful regardless of your social economic standing. Alongside these occasions there are also beliefs on what you should serve which either gives you luck, gives you long life or any other good fortune to accompany it.
While you can drop these traditions on most occasions there is one very important occasion where it should be followed, during the Media Noche, why? Since it is the start of the year not following might bring you all the bad fortune there is. Media Noche or New Year’s Eve Feast is a long tradition in the Philippines, where it sounds like of Spanish origin but not, this Chinese tradition where families, friends, and relatives gather at the dinner table to enjoy a night full of food, drinks and fireworks to welcome the New Year ahead.
For a non-Filipino all the dishes you will see might look randomly picked, they are not, in fact they resemble something and again most of it was influenced by the Chinese. So, what goes into a Filipino table during Media Noche.
Media Noche – Let’s start with the celebration itself, like I said above this is a celebration where family members, friends and relatives gather together and enjoy heavy feasting, drinking and laughter, this alone symbolizes family celebration and union.
12 Round Fruits and a Pineapple – Round symbolizes prosperity and 12 is all the twelve months of the coming year. From the Chinese tradition, a round shape is basically circle where in this shape does not have an end, implying never ending wealth. So, what’s with the Pineapple? Usually it is the centrepiece, while the 12 round fruits represent prosperity, pineapple also represent the same thing but not because of its endless shape but its scales resemble gold coins which implies wealth.
Noodles – For good health and long life, which is represented by its long noodles or pasta mostly in the form of Pancit Canton, Pancit Bihon, Pinoy Spaghetti, Lomi, Sotanghon, etc. So, don’t ever cut it before cooking, you will know what happens. This dish is also served during birthday’s due to the same reason.
Sticky Rice Cakes – Biko, Suman, Kalamay, Puto Calasiao, Tikoy, Royal Bibingka or any sticky rice cakes is believed to help improve the relations and bond of the family, which means that families will “stick together” for years to come, Dig it?
No Chicken or Fish – These meats back home symbolizes scarcity of food so make sure you don’t serve any dishes that uses this otherwise you will be left hungry for the whole year.
Pork – On the other hand pigs are said to be the luckiest Filipino food on New Year. These plump animals signify prosperity and also their noses root forward, which symbolizes progress. That is why you see a lot of families prepare lechon for New Year and if the budget is tight then roast pork head is a good alternative.
Grains – Grains, grains, grains everywhere, usually rice, mung beans, corn, every corner of the house where its containers are filled to the brim to signify abundance, the more it is filled the more blessings the family would have.
Greens – It’s a no brainer, US Dollars are green so this colour symbolizes money, the more greens you serve the more money you will have, plus if you eat lots of this you will be showered with good health, at least this one is true.
Now to top it all up while having this feast you need to wear polka dots as a sign of prosperity (it look like coins), jump high at 12 midnight (make sure you are not yet full with all of that food) so you get taller and e noisy, if possible bang everything, use your car horn to your hearts extent or use a lot of fireworks to away all the evil spirits.