12 Round Fruits on New Year’s Eve

Background information: My dad is My mom is a second-generation Filipino-American, meaning he was born here in the US. His parents immigrated from the Philippines when they were both relatively young, and he grew spending a good amount of time with his family and distant relatives.

Dad: Yeah, every year, before New Year’s Eve, we buy twelve round fruits and make them the center piece at the table at the start of the new year.

Me: Why do we do this? Where did you learn this from?

Dad: Growing up we did this, I think. The fruits represent abundance and help us make sure that the coming year will be hearty and happy for everyone in the household. You have to have a fruit for each month, and they all have to be round.

Me: Why should the fruits all be round?

Dad: Uh…I don’t know, probably to represent the cycle of a full year? It’s hard to find 12 round ones because that’s more than they usually have at one grocery store. We always go to the asian market to get a good variety of fruits. So we end up with ones you wouldn’t eat any other time of the year, and the table looks really nice with all the fruits there.

I remember this tradition really well, as my dad has always been adamant about making sure we start the New Year with 12 round fruits on our table. I have many memories of us going to multiple markets to find fruits that were round enough, and all different enough. I myself am not sure how much my dad believes in this tradition, or if he just feels so strongly about it because it has always been a practice for him and his family, but either way, it has made me feel strongly about it too. I think this is a good example of showing how folklore can endure many generations, because even though it is not a very popular or well-known practice, I want to keep doing it for all the years to come, and I’m sure my dad does, too.