Every year I agonise over my New Year’s Abundance Bowl, hoping that I manage to find my 13 round fruits, as per Feng Shui tradition. For those of you who do not follow Feng Shui, you might be wondering what the big deal is here. Well, the tradition in my family began with my aunt many years ago.
As a businesswoman, it was always in her interest to attract money to her home and shop, so she diligently followed the advice of her Chinese colleagues. Since my parents and I lived in Mexico during the early years and were never in Manila for Christmas, this tradition eluded us. But when we moved back home in 1981, my aunt was positively horrified that we didn’t have an abundance basket for New Year’s. Perplexed, Mommy decided to look into it and found the guidelines very vague and often confusing. Nevertheless, she persevered, Daddy played along by driving her around town to find the fruits, and it has stuck ever since.
The basic rule of the abundance basket / bowl is to have 13 round fruits, specifically 13 different round fruits, representing the 12 months of the new year, plus the additional fruit for the abundance. Some will say 13 is the requirement, other hardcore followers will insist on 14, and the easy-goers will say 12 is sufficient. My aunt complicated matters by saying that it should be round fruits without seeds, but we found that “rule” taking it all a bit too far.
In Manila, all I had to do is head towards the next fruit market and there was always a Chinese trader with all the necessary ingredients, including the special round pears from China. In India, I struggled with sourcing the 13 round fruits, and even more so in the earlier years that I lived in Berlin. In those days there were not too many exotic fruits available during winter, and it was a real challenge to complete the required 13.
Last year I was too broken to be concerned with Christmas and New Year at all, and it was probably the first time in almost 30 years that I didn’t have an abundance basket. As a result, I also struggled financially this year, so I am determined to attract all the abundance possible for 2019!
The expedition began yesterday, and much to my delight, I found a lovely Turkish shop all the way out in Alt Kladow that turned out to be a one-stop-shop. In one swoop I managed to find my 14 fruits: melon, pomegranate, grapes, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit, pears, quince, plums, kiwi, apple, persimmon, mango, raspberries, and hazelnuts. I know, I know, that amounts to 15, but just in case the raspberries don’t hold out until January 1, the hazelnuts are a back-up. The grapes are missing in the photo because those are only draped on top on New Year’s Eve. My aunt would be proud of my basket!