Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcoming The New Year!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
13 Round Sweet Fruits  - Grapes, Watermelon , Pomelo, Melon, Guava,                                                    Persimmon, Pears, Apples, Oranges, Chico, Starapples, Longan, and Kiwis.
I bid 2012 adieu and welcomed 2013 with my family here in Valenzuela City, Philippines! It's only the third time I celebrated the new year with the whole family (and Pinoy special someone) for the last 12 years, and I'm thrilled that for the first time, I found 13 sweet and round fruits without including the not-so round ones like pineapple, atis, banana, and papaya that usually end up on our dining table in the past! 
13 Round (?) Sweet Fruits  - Grapes, Watermelon,Chico, Starapple, Apple,Orange,                                                    Pears, Kiwi, Atis (Sweet Sop), Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Pineapple, and Banana?
Oh the excitement of observing our family New Year Eve's tradition! Aside from the 13 round fruits for good luck and prosperity, our family usually play fun games before it strikes 12 midnight, enjoy the noche buena dinner consisting of native delicacies like biko, pancit and yummy food and make noises using our torotot, car honk and coins inside cans. But I admit that the  too much use of paputok (firecrackers) by Pinoys (even before the New Year's eve) scares me to death, so I had to hop to a quieter destination to observe the New Year!

Like my post 12 Combo Trips in 2012 which was foodie inspired, here’s my fruity New Year celebrations, going all the way back to the very first new year in the new millennium.

2012. Grapes - Widely popular and regarded in many cultures as “the queen of fruits" for centuries, welcoming   2012 in New York City is the "grapes of mnew year celebrations". Having seen the iconic New Year Eve's ball dropped from the flagpole in Times Square, New York City (USA) truly made this princess feel like a queen
2011. Pears  are native to coastal and mildly temperate regions of the Old World, from western Europe like Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Netherlands and Germany which I have visited briefly in December before close of  the year. If I had celebrated the new year in Frankfurt, it would have been  the "pears of my new year celebration".
2010. Longan - Literally translated as "dragon eye" (because longan  resembles an eyeball when its fruit is shelled),  I consider welcoming the new year in Singapore  as the "longan of my new year celebration" since longan abounds in Singapore and has looked at corruption with a dragon eye leading to Singapore's consistent rating as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. 
2009.Guava fruits, are round or oval, may be sweet or sour, off-white to deep pink, with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species. Welcoming the new year in Boston makes it the "guava of my new year celebration" since this largest city in Massachusetts (USA) is like guava because of the profusion of diverse subsections getting it nick-named a "city of neighborhoods"!
2008.Apples - Biblically known as the "forbidden fruit"I consider welcoming the new year in Beijing, China as the "apple of my new year celebration" since China is not only the leading producer of apples but also because Beijing is home to the "Forbidden City", a Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty and currently houses the Palace Museum. 
2007.Watermelon - has a thick rind and when break open would reveal its fleshy red fruit. Welcoming new year in Cambodia is the "watermelon of my new year celebration" since on New Year's Day  in 1975, the reds Communist troops launched an offensive which, in 117 days of the hardest fighting of the war, collapsed the Khmer Republic. Khmer Rouge regime gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. 



2006. Star apples or locally known as caimito is round, purple-skinned that is often green around the calyx, with a star pattern in the pulp. It is a tropical fruit and grows rapidly and reaches 20 meters in height. If celebrating new year in Vietnam is a fruit, it would be a "star apple of my new year celebration" since Vietnam is a tropical country with a yellow star in the middle of its flag and home to the most famous variety of star apple (called Lò Rèn milk fruit). But the most notable similarity of Vietnam with star apple, is it's  rapid integration into the world economy through government-initiated series of economic and political reforms making its economic growth among the highest in the world since 2000.
2005 - Oranges- are ancient hybrid fruits, possibly between pomelo and mandarin and is known today as "Chinese apple" in several languages. I consider welcoming the new year in Hongkong as the "orange of my new year celebration". Hongkong is a hybrid country which operates under the principle of "one country, two systems".  Since it is a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and a former  colony of the British Empire, it has a different political system from the mainland China! 
2004. Pomelo is a crisp citrus fruit, usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white flesh and very thick albedo. It is the largest citrus fruit which is native to South and Southeast Asian countries and is known under a wide variety of names. Because the town of Tambun in Perak, Malaysia is particularly famous for pomelos, celebrating a new year in Malaysia makes it the "pomelo of my new year celebration".
2003. Chico or commonly known as sapodilla is  a large ellipsoid berry, containing two to five seeds. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. Because Chico was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonization and the trees can only survive in warm, typically tropical environments (dying easily if the temperature drops below freezing temperature), celebrating new year in the country is the "chico of my new year celebration".
2002. Melon or specifically the horned melon is native to Africa, and it is now grown in California, Australia and New Zealand, as well. When ripe, it has a yellow-orange skin and a lime green, jelly-like flesh with a tart taste. Celebrating new year in San Francisco, California  makes it the "melon of my new year celebration".
2001. Kiwi or kiwifruit has been declared a National Fruit of China and is native to southern China which includes the engaging city of Xiamen.  In 2001, this country formerly called as Amoy was the second foreign country where I celebrated the (Chinese) new year (January 24)  which makes Xiamen as the "kiwi  of my new year celebration".
2000.Persimmon - My first taste of new year celebration in a foreign country was in Utah (USA). I consider it "the persimmon of my new year celebration" since it was also my first taste of winter and in Ozark folklore, the severity of the upcoming winter is said to be predictable by slicing a persimmon and observing the cutlery -shaped formation within it - a spoon means snow while a fork is a milder winter and a knife is a cold biting winter. (This is "a myth with no bearing on weather forecasting").

Any fruity celebrations of New Year in another country? Please share.

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