New Year’s Eve supposed to be welcomed with at least a bang of drums or Baby Rockets attached to broomsticks.In Canada, the only noise that will drive away evil spirits in this house is the whir of the heater in the laundry room.
No elaborate fireworks display, no loud explosives, no artificial cries of cows, no thick smoke, and no firecracker debris scattered on the streets. There is total silence after the cycle of the heater is completed, except for the faint sound of water dripping elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the streets are already littered with firecracker debris, the streets are hazy, and the skies bright with the fireworks display which will culminate at 12 midnight.
There are barbecue stops all over the place and the food is offered for free. There are men huddled over a pitcher of beer or bottle by bottle seated on top of tables or hidden below chairs. The finger foods are abundant. No Boy Bawang as pulutan to negate the liquor’s bitter aftertaste.
Women are busy in the kitchen to set up the table, piling atop plump fruits on a large plate. They are dressed in dotted dresses or any clothing with round design. To them, it invites good luck. The mood is festive and happy. And people at odds with one another reconcile if they meet on the streets or in the gathering.
As soon as the clock strikes 12, the noise is at its peak. Caches of firecrackers will drag out of the house, and hung over sturdy concrete walls. There are five thousand rounds of ammunition uncoiled on the streets. A firepower that will last for minutes like a burst of automatic gunfire. Some will toss explosives on burning tires for safety. Some will ride bikes with paint cans tied to its back to generate as much noise as possible. Children will be told to start jumping, with hornpipes on their mouths, and a sparkling fountain like welding rod on their hands after it touches the steel.
The revelry will dwindle at 2 or 3 am. At five o’clock in the morning, there will be sporadic and an intermittent burst of firecrackers. As early as 7 am, there are children ransacking houses of hiding godparents on Christmas Day. People on small caravans start to appear on the streets to entice children with their colorful merchandise.
The happy new year begins. But not to others who lost fingers, eyesight, and even precious lives.
Happy New Year to all. Keep safe.