What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
Like many in the USA, the Agutaynen people of the Philippines prepare for the turning of the year. It will be an active, noisy night. But they won’t be celebrating. They’re divining the future.
In the traditional ways of the Agutaynens, the events of the evening of Dec. 31 – especially at midnight – foretell the events of 2011.
A rice pot with no rice in it on the evening of Dec. 31 will mean 2011 will be filled with hunger. If there is no money in the house on Dec. 31 then 2011 will be a difficult year for the family financially.
So the Agutaynens go to great lengths to make sure their homes are well prepared for the New Year. They make sure all containers of rice, sugar, coffee and water are full. This, they believe, ensures that these things will be plentiful in the New Year.
At midnight, they’ll turn on their radios and start their motorcycles and fire up their generators. This makes a lot of noise, but it’s not about the noise. They believe that if the radios and motorcycles and generators and other mechanical things are running at midnight, they’ll run well through the New Year.
Some Agutaynens will also observe the ocean, the stars and the animals at midnight, in the belief that these things will foretell a good year or a difficult one.
I sincerely hope you have a good 2011. But that’s not up to me, or dependent on what you do at midnight. Your hope, like ours, rests in the Creator.
At the same time, I must thank you. Your prayers and giving and encouragement have helped us have a very productive 2010 in ministry, and we look forward to another great year.