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How Filipinas Celebrate Christmas

hand holding a Christmas gift Normally, Filipinas celebrate Christmas with family and loved ones.

Christmas is always a wonderful holiday for Filipinos. If you’ve ever tried dating Filipinas, you might understand why. As early as September, you will see stores selling Christmas decorations and lights along the streets or even inside the malls.

Indeed, there are many things to appreciate about Filipino holiday traditions.

For many Filipinos, the Christmas countdown starts during the Ber months, which is from September to December. According to Clifford Sorita, a sociologist and professor at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, “The Ber months represent a psychological time clock for most Filipinos to prepare.”

This is why the Philippines celebrates the Christmas season the earliest and the longest.

So when you hear Jose Marie Chan’s voice singing his “Christmas in Our Hearts” song over the radio, or even hear your neighbor playing it at night, you know that Christmas season has already begun.

Colorful Christmas decors

One popular Filipino Christmas decor is the Parol. Traditionally a star-shaped lantern, the Parol is made with bamboo strips and colored Japanese paper or cellophane paper. It represents the star that guided the three wise men on their way to where the birth of baby Jesus took place.

What makes the Parol unique is that it comes in various designs, with colorful festive lights. In many Filipino homes, they will traditionally hang one or several lanterns up to symbolize their participation in the Christmas spirit.

Aside from being hung in people’s homes, Parols are also hung in malls, offices, corporate buildings, and government institutes.

The Parol can also be interpreted as a symbol that the household is open and willing to accept the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Christmas carols and songs

Popular Christmas songs and carols are common during the holidays. You’ll find this tradition to be done mostly by groups of kids who travel from house to house at night.

They sing their favorite Christmas carols and use musical instruments made out of resourceful materials such as metal bottle caps. After they’re done, the house owners will usually give them money as a gift, and in return, the kids will sing their thanks for the gift.

But aside from kids, adults may also enjoy participating in singing Christmas carols and songs. Although they mostly do it for their own associations, organizations, Christmas parties, and events rather than going from house to house in different neighborhoods.

Misa De Gallo

figurines re-enacting the birth of baby jesus Putting up nativity scenes is a popular Christmas tradition in Filipino households.

As one of the six predominant countries in Asia that practices Christianity, Filipino churches hold Misa De Gallo starting from December 16 to 24. The novena starts as early as 3 AM and 5 AM in the morning.

The majority of Catholic Filipino families practice Misa de Gallo to show their religious devotion to God and to honor the birth of Christ. There is a folk belief that God will grant a special wish of a Catholic devotee that attends all nine masses.

After the early mass, some Catholic families buy traditional Filipino breakfasts, such as bibingka (sticky sweet rice cake), puto bumbong (another sticky rice delicacy), and hot drinks, such as salabat (ginger tea) and tsokolate (Spanish style hot chocolate).

These delicacies are either eaten at home or within church grounds.

Noche Buena

On Christmas Eve, the majority of Filipinos look forward to Noche Buena, which is a big, open house celebration where anyone can drop in and wish the household a Merry Christmas.

There is usually a delicious spread laid out on the dinner table. The dishes include lechon baboy (roasted pig), Christmas ham, Filipino-style spaghetti, homemade fruit salad, rice cakes (bibingka and puto bumbong), fresh steamed rice, leche flan, cakes, and soda drinks.

Some superstitious Filipino families believe round foods will bring good fortune and will usually have a variety of 12 round fruits prepared at the center of the table.

Since some Filipino families are separated most of the time - especially parents who work abroad or college kids studying in another province - Christmas proves to be a time when the whole family reunites and celebrates the holiday together.

Giving gifts

In the Philippines, Filipinos have a twist when it comes to gift-giving. They call it “Manito - Manita,” which in Spanish is translated to “Little brother, little sister,” respectively.

It’s a popular gift-giving Christmas tradition used among schools, workplaces, and even social organizations. While this tradition may be done differently for each group, there is usually an enforced budget - to make it more fun and challenging.

The budget price depends on what everyone agrees on. And anyone can either hint at what item they want for Christmas or they can simply say it upfront to make it easier.

What makes it fun is you won’t know who is going to give you your present until the day the group exchanges presents.

It’s a fun experience and you should try it at least once if you get to visit the Philippines with your Filipina lady.

Enjoy the Philippines During the Christmas Season

man in red suit walking on beach sand You won’t regret dating Filipinas and spending a tropical Christmas in the Philippines!

Learning how Filipinas celebrate Christmas can be a new eye-opening experience. For one thing, the Philippines is a tropical country, so it doesn’t snow during December.

Instead, there are mainly two seasons in the Philippines - wet and dry - and December happens to fall under the wet and dry season of the year. So the temperature may be cooler compared to the summer months.

The Philippines celebrates Christmas with a mixture of western and native Filipino traditions. You’ll see the typical western Christmas Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and even Christmas songs played across several establishments, homes, and work offices.

At the same time, you’ll see people attending church for the novena mass, Parols being hung outside homes and around public buildings, and nativity scenes scattered around town and in the city.

Do you have a date with a Filipina lady this Christmas? If not, try riding the waves of the holiday spirit by meeting beautiful Filipino women!

Sign up with our international matchmaking site to get to know amazing and single Filipinas. You might get to meet someone who is ready to celebrate the festive season with you.

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