Every New Year’s Eve is a night of excitement, especially in the countryside. The countryside folks are so enthused that New Year’s Eve is always welcomed with excitement.
I always remember my father, an authentic farmer, who would always wait for the New Year’s Eve countdown. Of course, we gathered in the dining table full of snack foods like “suman,” “biko,” “tsokolate,” and a variety of fruits. Nothing really special, but the ambiance and the warmth of a family gathered in the tradition of common bond and aspiration.
Then, when the New Year’s Eve struck, the countryside is alighted along with the seemingly endless explosions of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
I hurriedly took my hidden sparkler sticks, then, lit its tip. The lighted sparkler emits little glittering stars as I swirled around. More often, I could feel protesting the short lived glitters of the commercialized sparklers. Sometimes, my young mind thought of buying a truckload of sparklers to relish my desire to light it all with gusto.
Then, as the rumbling sounds of firecrackers slow down, my father beacon us to be silent. I wanted to lodge a protest. However, my father’s sharp look simply disarms my stubborn self to behave, at least.
He wants to listen to the sounds of the animals. In the countryside, the domesticated animals would often sing or cry chorus to sounds of the firecrackers on New Year’s Eve.
My father said that the most prevalent sound of the animal would be the sign of the incoming year. A rooster might crow to signal the year of the rooster or a horse might whine as the horse sign of the year.
I have no idea nor a pretense to know about all these traditional New Year’s Eve belief. I was only interested on how my father would predict the fate or the future of the incoming year through the animal sign.
A year of the rooster is not good because it would mean hardship because of a “hand-to-mouth” subsistence.
The year of the pig would be better than the year of the dog. My father said that the year of the pig would mean abundance because the pig has always something to eat on the ground.
While the excitement in the countryside is not as fair as in the urban centers, the nostalgia and the excitement with friends, neighbors, and relatives is comparable to none.
I always remember our family joining together on the New Year’s Eve mass. Honestly, I never miss masses because I always expect my “infantile crush” to be around. The visceral pumping adds to the thrill as eyes intentionally met in the church. What a feeling! How I wish I could be young, innocent and unlearned once again.
Of course, all through the years, as we grew up, my infantile crush and I never have chance to be so closed to each other. As we grow older, we simply said “hi,” “hello,” and “how are you now” to each other during a chance meeting.
But, the fondness of the New Year’s Eve recollection will forever remains in our hearts. Until now, when the year end comes near, I always wanted to go back home to the savor the rustic smell of countryside.
Unlike my father, in the countryside, want to put my ears on the ground to listen to the sounds and the crying shrills of the animals on New Year’s Eve.