Filipino Christmas traditions are always present every Christmas season. Although the main holiday is on the 25th of December, you can already feel the Christmas spirit months early since most Filipinos are celebrating it from the month of September and it doesn’t stop there. We’re listing down below the wonderful Filipino traditions that makes Christmas celebrations special every year in the Philippines.
Filipino Christmas Traditions
The Philippine is a very diverse country that is full of colorful cultures and various traditions. Each city can proudly boast their traditions that differs from other cities. This is why visiting the Philippines is such an interesting and exciting journey for tourists around the world because there is a plethora of things to do and wonderful places to visit. Traditions in the Philippines varies from place to place such as the fiestas of each city. Cebu City celebrates the Sinulog Festival, you can never escape the smiles in Bacolod during the Masskara Festival, and if you’re looking for something flowery then Baguio’s Panagbenga Festival is a must see. These are just examples of festivals that are traditionally being celebrated in the Philippines.
Tradition is a way of expressing culture in an ever-changing world. It’s a way of living, a relaying of beliefs and customs from one generation to the other. Tradition comes in many forms, it could be community-wide celebrated event such as festivals, religious events, and honoring occasions to simple customs and habits that the people have been practicing for centuries such as pagmamano, family events, and more.
There are thousands of traditions that are currently being practiced in every part of the Philippines, but if there’s one tradition that almost the entire nation celebrates as one, it’s probably the special celebration of Christmas. The entire world celebrates Christmas, it’s a very special holiday to a lot of people. Countries around the globe have their own way of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, but it’s safe to say that the Philippines have the most unique way of commemorating Christmas.
Filipino Christmas traditions are always present every year. Although the main holiday is on the 25th of December, Christmas in the Philippines starts months early since most Filipinos are celebrating it from the month of September and it doesn’t stop there. We’re listing down below the wonderful Filipino traditions that makes Christmas celebrations special every year in the Philippines.
1. Preparations Begin as early as September
It is surely interesting to know that it is an unofficial tradition for the Filipinos to start preparing and celebrating Christmas as early as September. As soon as the cool breeze of the ber-months kicks in, it is already time to be festive. In this month you can already see people preparing by putting up their own Christmas tree and Christmas decorations. Houses all over the country are starting to light up in different twinkling colors, figurine Santa Clauses and elves are already being put into their respective places, and Christmas trees are sprouting inside every Filipino living rooms.
Communities and cities are also in with this tradition. In city plazas, humongous Christmas trees are being lit up and Christmas decor and Christmas lanterns are being displayed all around public places. Take note, these are all done three months early. It’s such a special time of the year that a day or a month isn’t enough to commemorate it.
2. Christmas carols
It isn’t truly a merry Christmas without the festive music. As Christmas time is approaching, more and more carolers are starting to appear. Mostly done during early evenings, carolers comes in different ages and with different styles of presentations. It could vary from little bunch of kids with their cute little instrument to groups of people from different organizations with large ensembles of instruments.
The best part about Filipino carols is the creativity they put into every song. As Filipinos are natural born performers, never expect a normal song number. Some carolers even have dancers! They have their own gimmicks to be unique, and every year, they seem to one-up their performances from last year. No instruments? No problem! It’s been a nationwide tradition to use spoon and forks as instruments when caroling. It might seem taboo for tourists but it’s common for the locals to use kitchen utensils for caroling. Everybody has their own style and props to get the most aguinaldos each night. As for the songs, well nothing beats the iconic “Sa May Bahay.” That song is basically the most recognizable caroling song in the Philippines. Christmas songs such as “Last Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “Jingle Bells” are also favorites
Imagine yourself enjoying the cool December breeze on a chilly evening, Christmas lights making every house shine, then children singing making the ambiance merrier, it is such a cozy experience. If you’re dreaming of loving and welcoming communities like this, Bria Homes is here to help you. Bria Homes offers affordable house and lot inside safe and inviting communities. Why not celebrate Christmas in a place with a sense of community? Bria Homes will help you achieve that dream.
3. Simbang Gabi
One of the well-known Christmas traditions of the Filipinos is completing attendance to the annual series of midnight masses. The Simbang Gabi is attended by a lot of people all over the country and even Filipinos abroad. Local churches and chapels are organizing nine consecutive midnight masses starting from the 16th of December up to Christmas eve mass.
The Simbang Gabi is attended mostly by families and lovers. After the mass, people treat themselves to delicious puto bumbong and bibingka. It is said that once you have attended all nine midnight masses, you are granted a special wish.
4. Ninongs and Ninangs
If you’re looking for the best gifts on Christmas, then you better start looking for your ninongs and ninangs in advance. Children all over the country visit their godparents during Christmas day to get blessed by gifts and money. It’s been a tradition for the Filipinos to receive most of their presents from their godparents, not until you dance otso-otso in front of them tho.
Read also: Best Christmas Gifts for Kids 2021
5. Christmas parties are always next level
Nothing is more exciting than Filipino Christmas parties. It is a festive gathering filled with the best food you will ever taste, yes, including lumpiang shanghai. The most exciting part? The exchanging gifts segment. It’s fun trying to guess what kind of present you’ll get but it’s more exciting to know who you Secret Santa is. Christmas parties in the Philippines are always the best, whether it is held in schools or with friends and family, these parties are always unforgettable. Almost all of Christmas parties has a theme and it adds up to the fun.
Filipinos are naturally family-oriented people so the spirit of togetherness and love is always present during Christmas parties. Just pray you won’t get another coffee mug or picture frame this year.
6. The Noche Buena
The highlight of Christmas celebrations: the big dinner during Christmas eve. The Noche Buena is where every family celebrates the birth of Christ by preparing delicious meals and being with your loved ones. People who are working abroad are booking flights just to be with their families during Christmas eve. The meal wouldn’t be complete without queso de bola, the Christmas ham, and your loved ones to share them with.
Every country in the world has their own traditions when it comes to Christmas but it is safe to say that the Filipinos celebrate it the best. It’s a wonderful time of the year when the entire world is at peace and everything is merry. With the problems that the world is in right now, celebrating Christmas seems like a little spark of hope that everything is going to be alright.
Writtten by Rashid Mansan