Christmas Traditions in the Philippines

Christmas in the Philippines is unique -- no other country cherishes and celebrates this season the way we do. It is jam-packed with festivities and traditions. Christmas in the Philippines means fireworks, entertainment, feasts, and spending time with family and friends. In fact, the Philippines celebrates the Christmas season the longest! That’s how much we love the year-end holidays. 

Feeling excited for the holidays, we’re going over how  Filipinos celebrate Christmas.

SeptemBER is the beginning of Christmas celebrations

As soon as September starts, so does the Christmas season for us. Jose Mari Chan’s songs begin to play in malls, parks, and it is also added to our playlists. “Christmas In Our Hearts” plays repeatedly on radios, the sign that holidays are just around the corner. This is the time when you allow the holiday spirit to enter your home and begin to put  up your Christmas decorations.

Attending Simbang Gabi

Simbang gabi, also known as Misa de Aguinaldo, is a mass that refers to the present given at Christmas time. It starts from December 16 to 24 at dawn. The Mass celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve is called Misa de Gallo. This religious tradition says that if you complete all the 9 days of simbang gabi, your wish will be granted.

Bibingka and Puto Bumbong Season

Bibingka is a rice cake made in a clay pot covered with banana leaves and cooked on the sides using charcoal fire. Some say bibingka is tastier with cheese and salted egg. While puto bumbong is a purple rice cake steamed inside the bamboo tube. Christmas isn’t complete without these traditional foods. Bibingka and Puto bumbong will make you happy and feel like it is already Christmas day.

Monito Monita or Gift Giving

Monito Monita is a term used to describe a sequence of gift exchanges between family members and friends. Filipinos put a twist on traditional gift giving. In monito monita, you pick a name randomly and then you have to describe them and everyone will guess who it is, but you will keep it secret until Christmas. Christmas is a season of love and giving and it is fulfilling to see how happy our family is.

Noche Buena 

The highlight of the celebrations is waking up to eat Noche Buena. It is the mouth-watering feast of traditional Filipino Christmas foods including lechon, queso de bola, spaghetti, and fruit salad, which are served at midnight. We always look forward to Noche Buena since it allows us to spend quality time with our family over a meal, sharing and creating memories on Christmas Eve.

Uncertainties won’t stop Filipinos from celebrating a merry Christmas. This is a season of being thankful, finding hope, sharing blessings, spreading love, and quality time for our families. Wherever you go, you can always feel the spirit of Philippine Christmas. Seasons may change, and life can be challenging at times. Nevertheless, Christmas will always remain as the best time of the year.