Pre and Post Pandemic Filipino Christmas Traditions
The Philippines has the most extended Christmas celebration worldwide, and no one is complaining! Filipinos certainly know how to make the most of the holidays. You can already feel the holiday spirit in the Philippines in early September.
In this article, we will share some Filipino Christmas Traditions that you should not miss, from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic.
Pre-Pandemic Filipino Christmas Traditions
1. House to House Caroling
As early as November, you can already hear the joy of kids (and even adults) singing carols in the street. From classic English songs like “Jingle Bells” or “We wish you a Merry Christmas” to Pinoy traditional songs like “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” at “Pasko Na Naman,” there is an endless list of Christmas songs that carolers sing starting from early September. The households would give out coins or any money as a token for their caroling. Some would even give out food and drinks to carolers.
The resourcefulness of Filipinos shows through during these times because carolers would often use hand-made recycled musical instruments. What makes this even more fun is that sometimes kids would mix up the lyrics of songs and create their versions.
2. Simbang Gabi
The Simbang Gabi, also known as Misa-de-Gallo, is one of the most famous Christmas Traditions in the Philippines. Since most of the Philippine population is made up of Catholics, it is only natural that one of their traditions includes attending a mass.
Simbang Gabi, also translated to Night Mass, is a 9-day mass. Interestingly, according to Filipino belief, your Christmas wish will come true if you complete attending the 9-day Simbang Gabi.
3. Hanging of Parols and Christmas Decors
The famous Parol, or Christmas Lantern, is a star-shaped lantern that has been an iconic symbol for Christmas in the Philippines. Many Filipino families make sure to have one of their own whenever the holiday season starts. Almost every house showcases its unique parol, making streets scenic during Christmas.
Lanterns are made of recycled materials like plastic bottles shaped into stars or bamboo covered with colored paper. Hanging Parols is an excellent chance to make memories and bring out the creativity in oneself.
Post-Pandemic Filipino Christmas Traditions
Because of the pandemic, many Christmas Traditions have come to a halt. But because Filipinos don’t let anything get in the way of creating new memories, many new normal traditions have been made. Here are a few of the best ones.
1. Homemade Filipino Christmas Foods
The smell of bibingka and puto-bumbong is just a classic Filipino Christmas! And because of the pandemic, many families learned how to make recipes for traditional Filipino delicacies instead of buying them.
Christmas favorites like Hot Chocolate, Bibingka, and Puto Bumbong were made available through online orders and deliveries, making it easier for families to access these delicacies. Before the pandemic, these delicacies are usually found outside the church after simbang gabi. With Christmas nearing and Covid-cases lowering, we are hoping that the vendors of these sought-after treats will make their comeback.
2. Virtual Christmas Parties
Christmas Parties are a must for Filipinos. An average Filipino attends a minimum of three Christmas parties for different groups. It may be with workmates, with friends, and with family. But with the COVID lockdown and restrictions, Filipinos had to make a way to hold their most awaited Christmas parties still.
If there are online classes, of course, there are also virtual Christmas parties! It sure is fun to see the older generation try to navigate technology on their own to connect to family and friends.
3. Noche Buena
Noche Buena in the Philippines is the climax of Christmas. Families gathering at the center of the table, sharing stories, playing games, and eating their favorite family food is just one of the most meaningful ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. And even before, during, and after the pandemic, this Filipino Christmas tradition is still a classic!
The love and joy during the Christmas season in the Philippines are boundless. Its lengthy Christmas celebration gives more opportunities to show love and joy. Indeed, the Christmas experience in the Philippines is wondrous.
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