Christmas in the Philippines

I am tickled to host some very impressive writers today: Austin Molina, with help from Anthony Molina and Shaw Molina. They shared with me how families and children celebrate Christmas in The Philippines. Some say that The Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world- beginning with singing Christmas carols in September, and ending after Epiphany in January! I was so excited to learn more from the Molina boys- not only are they intelligent writers, they are also the sweetest little family!!!

Molina boys Christmas in The Philippines- Kid World Citizen

Austin, Shaw, and Anthony and little cousin Teia

Christmas in the Philippines is called Pasko.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year is “Maligayang Pasko” and “Manigong Bagong Taon!”

Christmas celebrations officially begin on December 16th with the traditional Simbang Gabi, but people start preparing for Christmas many months before.  Simbang Gabi is a Catholic mass with singing and performances by kids in the community.  Usually they act out the birth of Jesus.  It is followed by sharing traditional Filipino foods with friends and family in the community.  In the Philippines, Simbang Gabi happens every night for 9 days until Christmas Eve.

The days of the Simbang Gabi celebration are very special in the Philippines.  The biggest celebration is Christmas Eve.  Filipinos go to midnight mass and then celebrate Noche Buena, which is a big feast with lots of food that lasts all night.  Food is a very important part of Filipino culture, especially at Christmas time. Filipinos celebrate Christmas By going to midnight mass, eating, opening presents, and spending time with family and friends.

Puto bumbong Christmas in the Phlippines- Kid World Citizen

Image credit: ChildofMidnight,
creative commons use

Special foods that Filipinos eat for Christmas are things like babinka and puto bongbong (our dad and grandma’s favorites).  Babinka (sometimes written bibingka) is a sweet cake and puto bongbong (see picture on right) is a sticky dessert with shredded coconut.  They also eat arroz caldo which is a rice porridge or pandesal, a sweet bread that they dip in hot chocolate.

For  Christmas in The Philippines, children get money from Godparents and grandparents.  The Tagalog word for this gift-giving is aguinaldo.

Christmas in the Philippines parol decoration- Kid World Citizen

The most special decoration for Christmas in The Philippines is called the parol.  It is a colorful lantern that is lit up and hung for all to see.  People either make them or buy them.  They come in all sizes and colors.  Our grandma has one in her house in Illinois made from capiz shells, (shown in the picture). With the traditional parol, when you see one in someone’s window here in the States… it’s a very clear indication that they are Filipinos celebrating Christmas! Also, kids make parols out of paper and sticks.

Christmas in the Philippines is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, so many festivities are held at church.  It is also a time to be with family, so there are family gatherings with lots of food.  It is a very important season for Filipinos.

Thank you so much Austin, Shaw, and Anthony! (and cutie Teia!) I loved learning about Christmas in The Philippines! Maligayang Pasko and Manigong Bagong Taon!

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  1. says

    This was so neat to read! Having lived on Guam, where about half the population is Filipino, I’ve had the good fortune of learning a few things about Filipino culture, but I never did learn much about Christmas traditions. Thanks so much to the Molina boys for giving me an opportunity!

  2. says

    Thanks for writing about how we celebrate Christmas here in the Philippines. Kids so love this season and very true, it’s the longest celebration here..
    I am very happy to that here in the Philippines, the very essence of this event is still being with the family, as we remember Jesus Christ and His closeness with earthly parents Joseph and Eve. Thanks for your wonderful blog here

    • kidworldcitizen says

      I’m so glad you liked it! Please share any other cultural traditions about the Philippines with me!:)

  3. says

    These parols are one of the things I miss the most about the Philippines. It takes me back to a simpler time before I became an adult in the rat race in a big American city. We used to get a parol each Christmas (in stark contrast to our silver, metallic Christmas tree, which we remember with mirth now). Thank you for helping me relive the memories.

What do you think? I love to hear from my readers:).