Christmas In The Philippines Facts: Learn All About Their Celebration! | Kidadl


Christmas In The Philippines Facts: Learn All About Their Celebration!

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We might have just come out of the Halloween fun we had in October or have been just plain dreaming about the upcoming Christmas with longing but the Filipinos are already knee-deep in their celebrating spirits!

Not sure you believe us? Well, the Philippines celebrate not four weeks but four months of Christmas!

Yes, the Philippines start their countdown starting in the BER months; SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, and DecemBER! Don't be bowled over if a Philippino comes and says 'Maligayang Pasko' (Merry Christmas) to you at the start of September; go with the flow and wish them back.

Another intriguing fact is, the party continues even after the 25 December and goes on for about another four or five weeks. The Philippines celebrate Christmas for nearly half a year. Christmas in the Philippines is one of the most distinctive traditions. It is also the world's most protracted Christmas season. Come on, let's discover more about Christmas in the Philippines with some fun facts and find out if they receive Christmas gifts from Santa Claus. After understanding the Christmas traditions people in the Philippines enjoy during the holiday season, also check out Christmas in China facts and Christmas in Japan facts.

Filipino Christmas Practices

When Christmas carols start playing at the beginning of September, we know the Filipinos have begun the party.

Belen, a nativity scene meaning 'Bethlehem', is a traditional Filipino Christmas symbol representing the birth of Jesus Christ. While Belen is mostly set up in churches in other countries, we can find Belens everywhere in the Philippines. A Belen usually has a cute baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and sometimes the Three Kings and barn animals.

Simbang Gabi, also known as the 'Night Mass', marks the formal Christmas celebrations that start on 16th December and continue until Christmas Eve, a nine-day series mass. People either attend mass late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Filipinos believe a wish will be granted if they complete attending all nine days of mass.

Another fun thing they watch for is the goodies sold in shops that are around the church. Bibingka, which are rice cakes cooked with shredded coconuts in clay pots, and puto bumbong, which are purple rice cakes cooked inside bamboo tubes, make their day. Pangangaroling is a tradition where children, as well as adults, go house to house caroling and saying thank-yous with makeshift instruments.

The list of traditions keeps growing! For example, there is Monito Monita which is like Secret Santa and involves a series of exchanging gifts among family members, children, colleagues, and friends. There is parol, a Filipino star lantern that lights up the dark. It is a staple in the Philippines for Christmas which symbolizes the mastery of Christmas lights, a light that is over darkness, and hope. Nativity scenes and Christmas lights are installed by people across the cities to invoke the Christmas spirit.

Festive Nochebuena

There can be no celebrations without a feast! Nochebuena, a Spanish word that refers to the night of Christmas Eve, is famous for the feast that follows midnight mass. No one is allowed to eat until the midnight mass ends. It is considered to be the most significant spread of the year.

The feast includes so many things starting with Lechon, the heart of the table. Lechon is a slow-roasted pig that is filled to the brim with flavors. It is followed by Pinoy spaghetti, a dish so familiar in the Philippines that most celebrations have it present. It has a sweet flavor with the main components being cheese, ground beef/pork, and tomato sauce. There is also, Christmas ham with pineapple glaze, a vital dish for the occasion to balance the other dishes' strong flavors. Of course, there is also bibingka and puto bumbong, even though they are eaten during Simbang Gabi as well. This combo is always a plus to the table as it's a favorite of many.

To add to this, there is crema de fruta, a mixture of cream, graham crackers, and fruits. A fruit salad or a colorful dessert is always chilled and served cold. There is also quezo de bola, a cheese that makes the Filipinos just grin looking at it because the red ball of cheese makes the place feel like Christmas. When it's winter, there is hot chocolate too, lots and lots of it! Barbecue is a staple dish for Nochebuena. Lumpiang ubois is filled with shrimp, pork, and vegetables with other delicious ingredients that you can't get enough of it. Then comes the final touch for celebrating Christmas, a classic one at that, Macaroni salad, filled with pasta, vegetables, cream, ham, egg, and raisins, amongst other things.

Shredded coconut and several different ingredients are used to prepare desserts for the Christmas celebration.

New Year's Eve

In the Philippines, Filipino families unite on New Year’s Eve, 31 December, and have a midnight meal called the Media Noche to celebrate. They combine religion and superstition while celebrating New Year’s Day.

Some people wear polka dots. It's a New Year tradition as people in the Philippines believe the round shapes bring good luck. When the clock strikes 12, the elders of the family ask the children to jump as high as they can in the optimism of growing taller. Sometimes even the adults do it too!

Another New Year's tradition is making loud noises; the day isn’t complete without Filipinos making a ruckus. They bring horns to make noise and anything else they can get their hands on, like pots and pans; they’re drums to them for a night. They believe loud noises drive evil spirits and bad luck away. To have luck the whole year, Filipinos prepare 12 round fruits, as 12 represents the months of the year while the shape is to bring prosperity.

Eating pancit is a New Year food tradition as it symbolizes long life and good health. They also advise not to cut the noodles before you eat them. Filipinos also open all the windows and doors at their house to welcome good luck to their home.

Feast Of The Black Nazarene

About 80% of people in the Philippines are Catholics. It is the only Asian country, apart from East Timor, with so many Christians. The Philippines celebrates the world’s longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols beginning in September and lasting until Epiphany, the Feast of the Black Nazarene on 9 January, or until the Feast of the Three Kings which is the first Sunday of January, the official end of the season.

The Feast of the Black Nazarene is called 'Traslación' after the mass procession. It is a religious festival held in Manila, a place in the Philippines that is centered around the Black Nazarene, an image of Jesus Christ.

The Black Nazarene is a statue of Jesus Christ bearing the cross. To be specific, The Black Nazarene is a wooden model of a dark-skinned Jesus, kneeling and bearing the cross. It was made in 1606 AD in Mexico and was shipped to the Philippines. The Feast of Black Nazarene happens twice a year, on 9 January and also on Good Friday. As the statue is carried through the Quiapo district to the Quiapo Church, the celebration is additionally remembered as Quiapo Fiesta.

Unique Paskong Pinoy Icons

The Land of Fiestas, the Philippines do not receive snow, even in December. However, people love decorating their homes with Christmas lanterns and all other Christmas decorations.

What is 'Paskong Pinoy'? Philippine Christmas, that's what! It is very different and much longer than other yuletide celebrations. Pasko, from the Spanish word Pascua, is the most loved fiesta amongst a thousand others. Panuluyan meaning 'looking for lodgings' is another Christmas tradition. The panuluyan is held on Christmas Eve where St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary are brought out of the church to the company of singers. They go around, stop at several homes that represent inns, and in each, they sing their predicament and request for lodgings. However, the innkeepers inform them that the inns are full. So, the holy couple is wheeled into the church for Nativity.

Such is their celebrations! The people of the Philippines spend a solid five months jubilantly with sounds of bells and feasts and lots and lots of traditions that sound fun!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Christmas in the Philippines facts then why not take a look at Christmas in Russia facts, or Christmas in Ireland facts.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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