Sira-sira store: Attracting good luck

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Friday, December 27, 2013

“WHAT is suspicious food?”

That was Pannon my nephew asking me about something that puzzled his inquisitive mind.

“Where did you get that idea?” I asked him.

“I heard tita Joyce talking with tita Krystall and lola Blitte about preparing suspicious food for our New Year’s Eve feast.”

This was significant. Pannon used the given name of my niece Joy—Joyce—which could only mean he really meant business. Come to think of it, Joy never really liked her nickname and often chided me for using it in my columns. Her friends call her J but we don’t use that name at home. OK, Joy will get her belated Christmas wish; I’ll call her Joyce henceforth.

Putting one plus one together, I surmised Pannon misheard “auspicious” as suspicious and I corrected him on that.

Although the mystery was solved, I thought there really is something suspicious about putting the fate or our wealth, health and relationships in a basket of round fruits, and a plateful of noodles and ring-shaped foods.

No matter how many times we are told not to believe in these symbols, we doggedly follow tradition “just in case they will work this time.”

This year it will be the same round of food on the table purportedly placed there to ensure the future or at least the next 365 days of the year.

Bon Appetit came up with a list of auspicious foods like eating 12 pieces of grapes at midnight, according to Spanish tradition. Eat ring-shaped or round-shaped food like pizza, doughnuts and bagels for good wealth. Pomegranates symbolize prosperity and good fortune.

There are also traditional lucky foods suggested by Chinese cuisine. Oranges sound like the Chinese word for gold, thus the fruit symbolizes luck, according to

Pomelos also bring “continuous prosperity and status.” The word pomelo sounds like the Cantonese phrase for prosperity and status.

Still from, some people might not want to serve fish, thinking that it might be too lowly, but the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance. The Chinese serve whole fish at New Year. The head and tail represent “a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”

Vegetarians will be happy to know that green veggies like Chinese broccoli have a place in prosperity. It has to be served whole “to wish a long life for parents.”

So for your New Year’s Eve meal, don’t let the traditional limit your financial horizons; go for new ways of attracting good tidings from the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 28, 2013.


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