Know the Difference: Media Noche vs. Noche Buena

Pinoy handaan for Christmas

On the eve of New Year and Christmas, we celebrate a very special feast. Many Filipinos prepare their New Year’s Eve Media Noche and Christmas Eve Noche Buena with family and friends. Every event, no matter how big or small, is celebrated in the Philippines. Everyone knows that food is abundant in Filipino society. Media Noche and Noche Buena are two words that sound alike, but their meanings are different. Learn more about Media Noche and Noche Buena through this article.

The Meaning Behind Media Noche

“Media Noche” is a Spanish word that literally means “midnight.” On December 31, New Year’s Eve (“Bisperas ng Bagong Taon”), Filipino families meet for the Media Noche or midnight dinner, which symbolizes Filipinos’ wishes for a successful New Year.

Folk beliefs also include encouraging children to jump at midnight to grow tall, displaying circular fruit and wearing clothes with dots and other circular designs to symbolize money, eating twelve fruits at midnight for good luck in the twelve months of the year, and opening windows and doors on the first day of the New Year to let in the good luck.

Filipinos believed that we should place as much food on the table for Media Noche as possible so that you would have food all year round the following year.

What is Noche Buena?

What does Noche Buena imply if buenas noche means good night in Spanish? It translates as “evening of goodness” and relates to the night before Christ’s birth. However, among Filipinos, it also refers to the special meal cooked and shared with family on Christmas Eve. This tradition is deep in history and has been celebrated since the arrival of Christianity, more than 300 years ago, during the Spanish conquest. Despite its foreign beginnings, Noche Buena evolved throughout time, merging previous practices with modern times to become an entirely Filipino celebration.

Attending church is the first step in understanding Noche Buena. In the Philippines, the tradition of Simbang Gabi, or Evening Mass, begins on December 16th and ends with the Christmas Eve mass, known as the Misa de Gallo, on December 24th. Except for the Misa de Gallo, which is conducted at or around midnight, other masses are normally held between 3 to 5 a.m. Those who faithfully attend the nine masses are said to have their prayers granted. 

Common Noche Buena and Media Noche Dishes

Filipino families prepare their favorite Noche Buena food ideas, such as rice cake, pork, grilled fish, and dessert. While for Media Noche, the most important thing is to have at least 12 different varieties of fruits—the more diverse the better to usher in a prosperous New Year. Everyone looks forward to the large variety of food. As previously said, Filipinos think that we should place as much food on the table for Media Noche as possible so that you would have food all year long the following year.

Read Also: Traditional Filipino Food Recipes for Christmas Eve

Top 6 Media Noche Food in Every Filipino Table

Here are six (6) of the most commonly served foods at Filipino Christmas dinners.

1. Pinoy Spaghetti

The well-known standard meal served at practically all Filipino celebrations. By using sugar in the components, the Pinoy spaghetti departs from its other salt-oriented version, giving it a sweet taste. The ingredients for this tasty delight are cheese, ground beef or pork, and tomato sauce.

2. Barbecue

Another popular dish in the Philippines. Barbecues are one of the most practical and comforting recipes for every Noche Buena. The grilled scent of the marinated barbeque is enough to make any stomach churn with excitement. The first taste arrives with anticipation, and the smokey flavor of the barbecue is certainly a delight to savour.

3. Ham with Pineapple glaze

This meal highlights the regal essence of a celebration. The Holiday ham is an essential addition because of how quickly it can be prepared. The pineapple glaze not only complements the pork’s robust flavor beautifully on the plate, but it also softens it.

4. Bibingka and Puto Bumbong

Usually, you can find this dynamic combo in Simbang Gabi. After service, Filipinos joyfully gather outdoors to enjoy the comforting aroma of these celebratory treats. Other than in near vicinity to a church, one may always enjoy this combination at home.

Read Also: Filipino Christmas Kakanin to Try During Misa De Gallo and Noche Buena

5. Quezo De Bola

Every Ber-month, this red ball of joy appears in supermarkets and local food stores. Cheese lovers never miss the opportunity to serve the Quezo De Bola during Noche Buena. For other families, this cheese is not even consumed during the holiday season, but that doesn’t matter because simply seeing it makes the home seem like Christmas. The Quezon De Bola, whether sliced, diced, or served whole, may be used into a variety of seasonal recipes.

6. Macaroni Salad

The macaroni salad is a rich recipe in every way. It is a classic dish full of variety. Pasta, veggies, cream, ham, egg, raisins, and everything else you can think of! People appreciate the flavor of each item, and each family has their own spin on macaroni salad.

Best of Filipino New Year Handa or Media Noche Food

Listed are some of the most common dishes we often see at parties and celebration for the new year. Take some ideas from this list of Media Noche food for the incoming holidays.

1. Lechon

Without a doubt, Lechon is regarded as the “grandest of them all” on any occasion. Typically, a whole roasted pig with or without apple on the lips is served, with the skin crisp and delicious to eat. This is one of the most popular and requested dish in the Philippines.

2. Beef Caldereta

Caldereta is derived from the Spanish word “caldera,” which means cauldron or a metal pot with a cover and handle that is used to cook over an open fire. It’s made using chuck meat (with lots of fat), beef brisket, ribs, shanks, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes. You may also add chilies if you have a strong taste for heat.

3. Beef Mechado

Prepared by simmering beef in tomato sauce with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Because of the base ingredients, it is similar to Kaldereta or Afritada. Beef Mechado is a tasty beef stew that goes well with steamed rice.

4. Inihaw na Bangus

Grilled with a special set of filling and then wrapped in aluminum foil, the fish is a touch burned on the surface but really juicy on the inside. This works great with a dipping sauce consisting of calamansi juice (local lemon), vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and chiles.

5. Lumpiang Shanghai

A Filipino-style spring roll with a filling of ground pork, chicken, or beef wrapped in thin crepes known as lumpia wrappers. The meat-filled lumpia is rolled into a thin cylindrical shape, chopped into bite-size lengths, and deep-fried till golden.

6. Leche Flan

The Filipino version of Crème Caramel. Despite the name, Milk Flan is a rich custard prepared from condensed milk. Leche Flan is one of the best Media Noche ideas for dessert and is traditionally created for celebrations and feasts. It is frequently steamed rather than baked.

7. 12 Round Fruits

If you wish to have good fortune throughout the year, you must prepare 12 round fruits before the new year. The number of fruits corresponds to each month of the year, and the form is thought to bring riches and success. This 12 round fruits is one of the Media Noche ideas and the most popular Filipino New Year’s cuisine traditions.

As a whole, Filipinos will always be unique and special! From the foods prepared to the fun activities. It’s much more special when you enjoy and gather your Noche Buena and Media Noche in your BRIA house and lot or condominium. Perhaps no other people like celebrating as much as Filipinos do while eating great delicacies and spending time with their important people.