Maligayang Pasko!

The Christmas season is now upon as all! (Alright, it has already been upon us all since September but anyway…) I stumbled upon this article on how to celebrate a Filipino Christmas. I have taken the liberty of reposting it here. You may visit the original page or read on here. Enjoy.

1. Play Filipino Christmas tunes such as “Pasko na Sinta Ko.”
2. Attend “Miso de Gallo,” which is a Mass held before dawn on December 16 to mark the start of the nine-day novena.
3. Use “parols,” or star-shaped lanterns that have candles inside, to light your way to the church in the dark.
4. Purchase native foods such as “puto bumbong” (rice steamed inside a “bumbong,” or small bamboo tube), “bibingka” (rice cake with salted eggs and fresh coconut meat) and “suman” (steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves) outside the church.
5. Expect “cumbancheros,” or carolers, to visit your house with musical instruments to serenade you and your neighbors.
6. Expect to watch the “Panunuluyan” in the town plaza on Christmas Eve. This is a re-enactment of the Holy Couple’s journey to Bethlehem and portrays the lack of hospitality they encountered along the way.
7. Attend midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This is always a special event that children wear new clothes to.
8. Gather with friends and relatives for “Noche Buena” after the Mass ends. This is a festive meal followed by the exchange of gifts, which lasts through the next morning.
9. Arrange to visit family and friends on Christmas Day.
10. Remember that the holiday season draws to a close with the Feast of the Three Kings on the first Sunday of January; the kings followed a star to find the manger where Jesus was born.

1. The first Christmas celebrated in the Philippines was in 1565, when Spanish colonizers brought the holiday to the islands.
2. “Maligayang Pasko” means “Merry Christmas” in the Philippines.
3. Traditional foods served for Noche Buena are ham or roast pig, cheeses, spring rolls, noodle dishes, chestnuts, and hot “tsokolate” (a native chocolate drink) and “salabat” (ginger tea). “Biblingka,” a pancake served in a banana leaf and topped with coconut and brown sugar, is a favorite dessert.

There are more than 30 ethnic groups in the Philippines, so Christmas traditions are quite diverse and cannot be generalized. While most of the population is Catholic, making the Mass an important part of the Christmas celebration, the local traditions listed may or may not be appropriate for your personal celebration of the season.

2 Comments so far

  1. nhi (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 3:05 am

    does xmas mean more to you here than before? it does me now when. i was in my country there was not the same.

  2. anna (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 9:00 am

    hi! just curious: where are you from?

    yes, i think christmas is more meaningful here on account of all the traditions and family gatherings. the focus is more on people, not on things.

    and also… i don’t think people from other asian cultures really celebrate christmas. most of my chinese friends certainly don’t.

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