Interesting Stories

Five Awesome Ways To Celebrate Christmas The Filipino Way


If you happen to hear loud Christmas medley in malls, welcome to the Philippines and embrace their early Christmas celebration! As you know, Filipinos love to celebrate Christmas which usually begins during the start of ber-months, hence the Christmas carols in September. At this time, Christmas trees start sprouting from one establishment to the other, from houses to public vicinities.

Philippines considers Christmas as the biggest celebration and most important season of the year. This is laced with numerous traditions that are influenced by both Spanish and American colony. Every year, it has been evident how people in the Philippines prepare for the grandest celebration, while Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs ensure that they booked their flight back home in time for the massive, meaningful family gathering. This devotion keeps Christmas traditions alive, and these traditions are what make OFWs eager to come home every year.

  • Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi

Misa de Gallo which is a Spanish term for rooster’s mass is a Catholic way of celebrating mass on Christmas Eve and is commonly held around midnight. In the Philippines, Simbang Gabi is a novena of nine dawn masses from 16th December to Christmas Eve. Many people believe that completing the novena will make their prayer or wish granted.

Mass typically begins at 3A.M. and when mass is done, it is followed by another customary activity in which families buy the traditional Christmas food called Bibingka which is an egg-based cake and puto bumbong which is a purple rice delicacy made from bamboo tubes. These two are commonly sold outside churches.

  • Carolling

Church officially begins their Christmas celebration on 16th of December. This is also the day when children form groups and go house to house to sing different Christmas carols. These children often display their resourcefulness through their makeshift instruments such as tambourines created from aluminium bottle caps held together on a wire. As children sing their songs, they also wait for homeowners to give them coins and thank them for their generosity.

  • Kris Kringle or Monito-Monita

Monit-monita, which is often observed during office Christmas parties, is a unique way of gift-giving.  In this variation, every name of participants will be written in a piece of paper. Each one will pick one paper bearing the name of his monito or monita, and is not allowed to disclose it. Too often, monito-monita follows a theme depending on how frequent they want to run the gift-giving. Others hold gift-giving every week where each week carries a theme. Each participant should buy a gift for his monito or monita following the chosen theme.

  • Christmas Tree and Lanterns

Definitely one of the most thrilling activities that families look forward to every year, assembling a Christmas tree is a perfect family bonding. Christmas trees and lanterns are two prominent Yuletide decorations that are highly visible in the country during the season. While Christmas trees are surrounded with bright, colourful Christmas lights, lanterns are star-shaped ornament made of colourful materials. This star symbolises the Star of Bethlehem that guided the path of the Three Kings on their journey to the manger.

  • Noche Buena

Absolutely something that the OFWs don’t want to miss, Noche Buena is a big family gathering on Christmas Eve and is often shared with relatives, friends, and even neighbours who will merrily drop by to nearby houses to wish people a Merry Christmas. It is marked with staple Christmas foods such as ham, lechon, and endless desserts that all Filipinos couldn’t resist.

Undoubtedly, Christmas in the Philippines is a major celebration for everyone. The ambience of joy, love, and compassion fills the air which makes kindness effortlessly visible.  Are you alone this Christmas season? Hop on the plane and celebrate with them. Surely, there is always a warm welcome waiting for you.

Screenshot from ABS CBN’s YouTube video

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