The Philippines celebrates Christmas for the longest period of time, starting in September and ending in January. As Filipinos begin the Yuletide season, various Filipino Christmas traditions still live on to this day.
Christmas in the Philippines is more than just about gift-giving and festive meals. It’s also about family and tradition. The Filipino traditions during Christmas are a rich and festive time for the whole family. Read on to know the unique and traditional ways Filipinos celebrate the holiday:
Festive Christmas decorations
Traditional Filipino Christmas decorations are popular for their colorful and unique designs. They usually have a lot of lights and ornaments. Some people also use traditional Filipino decorations like the "parol," a star-shaped lantern made out of bamboo sticks and paper.
Every year, local communities hold parol contests to find the best parol Christmas lantern of the season. One such event is the yearly Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga, which gathers diverse craftsmen nationwide.
The Belenis another popular holiday decor in the Philippines that depicts the nativity scene or the birth of Jesus. It is perfect for anyone who wants to make their home feel the warm spirit of this time of year.
Noche Buena feast
The Christmas Eve feast or Filipino Noche Buena traditionally begins at midnight and continues far into Christmas morning. It is one of the highlights of the Filipino Christmas celebration as it brings together the family enjoying sumptuous holiday foods.
Aside from Christmas Noche Buena food, Filipinos go all out on their holiday tablescapes when hosting a Christmas party or reunion with family and friends. Every household will bring out its best dinnerware in time for the holiday celebrations!
Christmas caroling in the Philippines
Filipinos sing Christmas carols during Simbang Gabi to add to the festive mood. They often visit neighbors' homes during this time and exchange small gifts. Residents may open their doors and hand over money, food, or other gifts or shout "patawad" if they have nothing to give.
Traditional Filipino Christmas carols include English songs like Silent Night, O Holy Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. However, original Filipino Christmas songs like Ang Pasko ay Sumapit, Kumukutikutitap, Kampana ng Simbahan, and Sa Maybahay ang Aming Bati are sure hits.
Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo
Filipino Catholics and Aglipayans celebrate Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo in the Philippines, a devotional Mass cycle lasting nine days from December 16 to 24. Filipinos participate in these Masses to anticipate the birth of Jesus. Most people also believe that if completed, the nine consecutive masses will make their wish come true.
Everyone arrives at church early to honor God in prayer. Bibingka and puto bumbong are holiday staples commonly sold near churches as light snacks after mass. Hot chocolate drinks and salabát or ginger tea are also shared amongst the whole family afterwards.
Another significant part of Filipino Christmas traditions is gift-giving. A Filipino family Christmas tradition is the giving of Christmas aguinaldo. Such gifts are given by godfathers and godmothers to their godchildren on Christmas Day.
The Filipino custom of "Monito/Monita" involves exchanging small presents in keeping with the season's spirit. Similar to the Secret Santa tradition, the Filipino Christmas gift exchange is done in small groups, such as among friends, students, or co-workers.
If you are looking for a unique gift to give your loved ones this Christmas, let Kultura’s selection of gift ideas inspire you to choose locally-made products. Check out these gift ideas from our catalog:
Looking for Filipino Christmas Gift Ideas and Decorations?
Feeling lost when it comes to Christmas shopping? Don't worry, Kultura has got you covered just in time for the holidays. We've got interesting and affordable gift ideas and decorations that speak of Filipino Christmas traditions!
Give them something they'll remember long after Christmas is over like perfume, scented candles, or even a sustainable bamboo coffee mug. It will make them feel loved, cared for, and happy this holiday season. Find all these items for the ultimate Filipino Christmas at Kultura Christmas Market in Kultura stores nationwide!
Browse our diverse selection of Filipino Christmas gifts anytime and anywhere. We have everything from food and souvenirs to jewelry, beauty, and wellness products.
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