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Celebrating the New Year the Filipino way will never be complete without fruits on the table. Rooted in Chinese tradition, these ‘offerings’ attract good luck for the coming year.

As a melting pot of cultures, this tradition causes some confusion. How many and what kind of fruits do we really need to put on the table?

1 per month = 12
Traditionally, the 12 “lucky” fruits symbolize each month of the year. Each signifies prosperity and good fortune for the whole year.

According to Feng Shui expert Master Hanz Cua, putting fruits on the table also shows abundance, attracting more blessings in the year ahead.

“The dining table should show abundance. Serve 12 different kinds of fruits with pineapple as the star fruit,” Cua said.

Pineapple tops the list of the “lucky” fruits, as it is called “ong-lai” in Chinese, which means “fortune cones.”

Apple, or “ping” in Chinese, directly translates as “harmony.” Orange and its smaller variety, kiat kiat, represent gold, and their round shape signifies money. The bright red or pink pulp of pomelo represents good health. Watermelon symbolizes prosperity, as its seeds mean abundance. Lychee or Rambutan’s round, red body signifies happiness and good fortune. Grapes represent abundance and luxury, while lemon’s fragrance and essence are known to cleanse and remove negative vibes.

Round or not
“Hindi naman kailangan bilog lahat ng prutas. Banana is also good because it signifies family bonding,’’ Master Hanz said.

Mango’s golden hue represents money, and its sweetness signifies strong family ties. Pears represent good health. Avocado’s green and purple colors symbolize prosperity, and papaya, just like orange, represents gold.

Taro or Gabi, although not a fruit, is also considered ‘lucky’ as it signifies overcoming challenges. Rice stalks or palay represent abundance and peanuts and seeds signify fertility.

Lucky 13?
Although 13 is considered by some to be an unlucky number, some Filipinos still prepare 13 fruits during the New Year. As it makes sense that 12 fruits represent 12 months of the year, making it 13 is like adding an extra streak of luck.

Some also tend to prepare 14 to pay homage to the previous year and the year ahead.

Facebook user Aileen finds nothing wrong with adding extra fruit or two. What matters to her is that one does not waste money by putting fruits on the table.

“May 12 fruits ka nga pero ubos naman ang pera mo, it doesn’t make sense. Kung kaya mo 12 or more, good. Kung hindi, make do with what you have,” she said.

Although Master Hanz suggests rolling kiat-kiat inside your house as it symbolizes good fortune entering your home, he also said that the offerings must be eaten and shared by the family.