Amid the rise in coronavirus cases these past few days and as the Filipino nation observes New Year’s Eve Friday, Dec. 31, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Health Care Ministry vice chairman, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio reminded the public to continue to observe strict safety health protocols.

Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio (Manila Bulletin photo)

Bishop Florencio called on the public to observe the minimum health standards set by the Health department and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing.

“Let us continue to follow the safety protocols set by concerned agencies. Let us protect ourselves and those around us by being cautious and careful as we help fight the spread of the virus,” the prelate said over Radio Veritas.

Unlike last year, more people are out this holiday season including children and the elderly, crowding malls, parks, churches, restaurants, bus stations, and other public places.

Meanwhile, in anticipation and hope for a better year ahead, time-tested New Year’s Eve traditions that have been passed on from generations will be observed around the country tonight in the hope of attracting good fortune, good health, and prosperity for the brand new year as well as to ward off bad luck and negative energies amid the on-going pandemic.

Despite the health crisis, New Year’s eve traditions remain well observed.

In many homes, a basket of 12 circular fruits will form part of the centerpiece on dining tables for prosperity in each of the twelve months of the year 2022. Many will also be eating 12 round fruits while wearing red or clothes with polka dots or anything that has circles on it for good fortune.

Some will throw coins or shake coins inside metal containers and fill their pockets with coins while walking around the house for improved finances in the coming year.

Lights will be turned on in every corner of the house. Coins will be placed on staircases, inside pockets, windows, and doors, which will be flung open at the onset of the New Year – all in the spirit of attracting good fortune and more blessings in the coming year.

Children will also be made to jump in the belief that this will help them grow taller. New Year resolutions are also traditionally listed down.

Catholic churches traditionally celebrate New Year’s Eve masses between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Source: Manila Bulletin (