Welcoming the New Year

We Filipinos can be very superstitious. When someone in the family is getting married, we have superstitious beliefs. When someone in the family passes away, we have superstitious beliefs. Yes, we welcomed the New Year, along with so many superstitious beliefs.

An article enumerated some of our superstitious beliefs at New Year celebrations:

  • Makes noise to drive away the evil spirits
  • Open all drawers, windows, doors and cabinets
  • Wear red or polka dots or better yet, wear both
  • Scatter coins around the house
  • Prepare 12 fruits, representing one for each month.
  • Put a grape in your mouth at the strike of 12 midnight
  • Buy a frog with a coin in the mouth or a pussy cat with hands that go up and down
  • Jump three times 
  • Eat pancit for long life

The list goes on and on. When you ask people why do these things, typically the response would fall under one of three categories:

  • “Money (prosperity) will come in this year.”
  • “It won’t hurt; nothing to lose.”
  • “Prevent bad luck for this coming year.”

As we celebrate the New Year, the Church in her wisdom has used Mary as her icon and model. Three things we can learn from the life of Mary and why we do not need superstitious beliefs.

  1. Life is uncertain. Even if you do all the superstitious practices, no one will be exempted by the challenges of life. There are things that we cannot control in life and this includes crises. Mary herself experienced crisis when the Angel Gabriel told her she will bear a son through the power of the Holy Spirit. How did she deal with this reality? Yes, even crises events in our life are all part of God’s plan.
  2. We human beings can be too controlling. We will do everything and anything just to make sure the things work out the way we want them to. Yes, even indulging in superstitious practices. Mary knew that she could never be in control, but God always is. That is why though filled with fear she told the Angel Gabriel, “Be it done to me according to your word.”
  3. The Christmas story reminds us that God is faithful. He never forgot His promise. At the appointed day, he sent his Son to save the world. Mary knew that God will never abandon Israel and God would never abandon her. Hence, her security was not money, but God. It is a reminder that money indeed is important and needed, but it cannot be the source of happiness and security. 

That is why in today’s Mass, three things we pray for.

  • For many, 2021 continued to be a difficult year, while for some blessings were abundant. Either way, there is still so much to be thankful to God for.
  • Life is short, swift and uncertain. Yet, we are here because God has a plan.
  • Superstitious practices are an insult to God. He alone can be trusted.

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