Saturday, 1 January 2011


Anywhere in the world, people of different colours and races or of religions and cultures, we are certainly weaved together by some common beliefs and practices as we welcome the New Year. The coming of 2010 is not an exception, and around the world, rituals and traditions are celebrated to greet the unfolding of the new daylight of the new date of the current century.

With renewed hopes and dreams, leaving aside the life’s unworthy memories of the preceding term and bringing up the better things to commence the year of the metal tiger, we are also groping about what life is in store for us in the year ahead with more than just our zodiac and the fortune teller’s recycled predictions.
Before the 12 different spherical fruits have been consumed or thrown away, we tried to call to mind the many other rituals to do to bring in good luck into our homes and lives before the dawn of the three kings arrive.
The satisfaction to comply many traditions is good enough to start a new year on the right veer, so to speak.  Whilst Filipinos do have special practices to achieve a good year, we also live every day with a field of myths and superstitions.  But myths or superstitions are not unique to us, cultures around the world do have their own versions of folklore and legends which they have learned and ought to believe from generations.
Signs of Bad Luck and Good Luck are universal beliefs.  Symbols and figures are used to identify these superstitions although interpreted differently at different places and cultures.  Filipinos do believe that black cats are bad luck when they cross your path, but people in the UK think the opposite, rather they thought that white cats bring bad omen.
A horseshoe has a significant meaning to some European, they think that if you find a horseshoe and the open space is facing you, it will bring you good luck. They would in fact hang horseshoes, as a tradition, above their doorways to let the luck flow into their homes.  Generally, breaking mirrors, are believed to be unlucky, and this belief is thought to have a biblical origin.  It is an aged theory that one’s reflection is an image of his soul, so anything that changes this reflection, like when you break a mirror, may bring evil.
An ancient belief still rings to most of us today that number 13 is an unlucky figure.  The Romans thought that this number is associated with death and devastation. Many legends believed that the thirteenth guest at a banquet is a spirit of evil.  Filipinos avoid number 13 in many aspects because it is bad luck. Friday the 13th scares most of us because the spirit of the evil loiters around and is very strong to rebuke.

Christians have a biblical basis for this belief too and is said to have come from the Last Supper, the number brings bad luck as in the case of Christ who was the 13th person after the 12 disciples. Others believed that the first person to leave a gathering of 13 people will die before the year ends.
Many events in the past which were obviously associated with number 13 had unfortunate endings.  For instance, the Apollo 13 space mission of the United States was unsuccessful in its quest when on the 13th of April 1970, one of its compartment exploded that caused oxygen leakage in the spacecraft at 13:13 pm. Annually, every 13th of the month, due to absenteeism, cancellations of trains and planes, and a consequent decline in business activity, the United States lost an income of about a billion dollars.  In Paris, France, no building has been built that bears number 13.  Yet number 13 is considered lucky for the Chinese.

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Many more beliefs which to some are regarded as myths or superstitions have captured not only our thinking but eventually influenced our way of life. I see nothing wrong with it, and believing will not make me a lesser being though some would surely seek a level-headed reasons of believing an obviously illogical, unscientific notion, believers do not actually owe any explanation to those who do not care to give meaning to it.  Good luck or bad luck happens in ones heart.


World of Facts by Russell Ash

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