Coins for the New Year

M is 54, and grew up in Manila, Philippines, and currently resides in San Gabriel, California.

M always says that during the New Year, “you must always have money in your wallet or carry coins in your pocket”. He said that this would ensure that you “always have money during the New Year.”

A saying commonly passed around Filipino families, this is a tradition that has been practiced in my family for as long as I can remember. Even if we were not carrying money throughout the day, my brother and I were each given a handle of coins to have as the New Year clock counted down. It appears that Filipino people, and other cultures and ethnic groups, regard the New Year as a deeply momentous and symbolic time. This can be seen in copious amounts of traditions practiced around that time. 

In fact, the coins in the pocket tradition are performed in tandem with other New Year’s traditions my parents have passed down, including eating noodles (for a long life), and jumping when the clock strikes midnight (to grow taller in the new year).