The New Year marks a fresh start. Cultures across the world think of the occasion as a turning of the page - one where luck, good fortune and other promising events await.
In the United States, we commonly kick this affair off with fireworks and make New Year's resolutions. Other countries take a different perspective toward a similarly auspicious outcome: for example, the Filipino tradition of 12 fruits for New Year's.
In this vein, arranging 12 round fruits for New Year's symbolizes abundance and is believed to attract prosperity for the months ahead. In Filipino households, other activities with a similar intention join the display - among them, scattering coins throughout the home, resolving longstanding debts, savoring round foods and wearing polka dots.
About the 12 Fruits for New Year's Tradition
New Year's is the second-most celebrated holiday in the Philippines. To encourage prosperity over the upcoming months, households arrange 12 round fruits on their tables. Two symbols ultimately intertwine in this display. One, in multiple Asian cultures, round fruits - and round and circular objects in general - are thought to symbolize money, wealth and good fortune. For this reason, the majority of the 12 fruits selected take on a round shape, ranging from bunches of grapes to melons, oranges and apples.
Secondly, each fruit represents a different month. While you'll occasionally spot 13 distinct fruits, at least 12 varieties map out and create a sense of direction for the upcoming year.
As for the tradition's origins, the 12 round fruits for the New Year arrangement goes back to multiple sources. Its roots supposedly extend before the conquistador period and contact with the Spanish. Along with this foundation, inviting prosperity through round fruits is said to come from periodic encounters with the Chinese over multiple centuries, resulting in Filipinos adopting some of these customs.
What 12 Fruits for New Year's Symbolizes
You won't see identical fruit arrangements. Rather, each presentation takes multiple sub-symbolic factors into account. These may include:
As already mentioned, round shapes - circular, as well as oblong like a pear or persimmons - are said to foreshadow wealth and attract monetary and personal success. As such, while fruit sizes and colors vary, all tend to center around a globe-like form.
A cavalcade of color characterizes each fruit display. This visual is often intentional and arises from selecting multiple fruit types. However, meaning varies. Green and purple - perhaps coming through grapes, mangos or apples - reference aspirational wealth in a general sense. Similarly, orange directly symbolizes gold and the security financial prosperity brings. Pink, meanwhile, serves as a wish of optimal health for the upcoming year. Red, in a similar direction, reflects happiness, goodwill and luck. Yellow is said to bring support and unity among your family circle.
Along with the symbolic attributes described so far, you may find any of the following fruits added for more specific reasons:
- Apples are thought to bring peace and harmony.
- Grapes, by shape, resemble coins and are thought to bring in more money for the New Year.
- Pineapples are said to foreshadow more good fortune - from luck to an increase in personal wealth.
- Bananas are associated with happiness or satisfaction.
- Mangos are assumed to strengthen bonds among family members.
Ahead of the New Year, begin to build your 12 fruits arrangement with organic produce picked right from the trees at Frog Hollow Farm. Browse these varieties based on season to experience how fruit should taste.