Christmas Traditions Unique to Filipinos

There’s beauty in the Christmas Season. And what’s even more beautiful is that every country has its own set of traditions and practices to follow for the Yuletide. And while this may sound bias, I’m just gonna say it anyway.

Filipinos do it best!

There’s nothing like Christmas the way Filipinos do.

1. Christmas Season starts when the calendar goes -BER

Yes, you’ve read that right. The Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world because it starts on the first day of September, not on December.

2. Setting up the belen

The belen refers to crib or manger of Jesus. In churches or households, people would set up their own belens representing the birth of Jesus. In this nativity scene, figures of the infant, Jesus; Mary, the mother; Joseph, the father; the three kings, shepherds, sheep and angels are displayed.


3. Parol

Christmas lights are famous all over the world as decorations. But in the Philippines, the special ornament that’ll complete the Christmas adoration is the parol — a big circle with a star in the middle, or just a big star designed with plastic, wire, wood and other recyclable materials.


4. Attending Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi means “night mass” in English. Filipinos attend masses late at night or at the wee hours of the morning nine days before Christmas. It has been a tradition to complete all nine masses with the belief that wishes or prayers will be granted to those who complete nine simbang gabis.


5. House Caroling

Christmas caroling in other countries are formal. Coordinated outfits. Great choir. Complete instruments.

However, in the Philippines, although some are formal, the ones that people normally witness are those children or adults going from one house to another to sing Christmas songs. Outfits, instruments and lyrics won’t matter as long as it’s lively. It’s more of a humorous affair than a serious one.


6. The Noche Buena

Christmas dinner falls on the eve of Christmas. Families gather to share a feast while waiting for the clock to strike twelve and welcome the midnight Christmas all together.

A lavish Noche Buena would include dishes like lechon, queso de bola, hamon, spaghetti and fruit salad.


While some Noche Buenas are not that festive, it’s the mundane act of preparing the meals that is meaningful. When people prepare the Noche Buena, it’s like preparing for a family reunion of family member that has been separated from the family for quite some time because of work or school.

7. Manito-Manita

Manito-Manita is the Filipino way of exchanging gifts. Before giving the gifts to your manito or manita, you’d have to describe your manito or manita, and sing the classic song I love my Manito/Manita, Yes I do, before giving the gift.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and entertaining. ‘Tis the season to be jolly!

8. The Aguinaldo!

Kids, and maybe some adults, look forward to receiving red envelopes from godparents. And while gifts are fun to unwrap, getting these red ang paos are just as exciting!


9. Hello Media Noche!

The holiday season doesn’t stop on Christmas Day. Once December 25 ends, Filipinos would be busy preparing for the Media Noche, the New Year’s Eve Feast, to welcome the New Year!


The table is also adorned with 12 different round fruits; round being eternal and a symbol of good fortune, and 12 representing the 12 months of the year.

And once the clock strikes twelve, Filipinos would make as much noise as possible to drive away the bad spirits from spoiling the new year. People would bang their pans and pots together, make noise from car alarms, paper trumpets or torotots, and have fireworks.

10. The Feast of the Three Kings

The Feast of the Three Kings, or The Epiphany, refers to the day the Three Kings arrived or reached Jesus’ manger. It is also considered the last day of the lengthy Christmas season which falls on the first Sunday of January.

Filipinos may not be able to make snow angels, have snow fights, and wear thick coats on Christmas, but these traditions are more than enough to have warm and memorable holidays.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

7 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions Unique to Filipinos

  1. What’s up?

    I found this article very interesting…please read!

    Do you remember the blockbuster hit film The Matrix that was released in 1999? You may not know this, but it has deep spiritual implications concerning the times we are living in and Bible prophecy.

    It tells a story of how these “agents” are trying to turn us into machines. We are closer then ever before for this to become a reality when they cause us to receive an implantable microchip in our body during a time when physical money will be no more.

    You may have seen on NBC news concerning the implantable RFID microchip that some people are getting put in their hand to make purchases, but did you know this microchip matches perfectly with prophecy in the Bible?

    “He (the false prophet who deceives many by his miracles) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name…

    You also may have heard of the legendary number “666” that people have been speculating for possibly thousands of years on what it actually means. This article shares something I haven’t seen before, and I don’t think there could be any better explanation for what it means to calculate 666. This is no hoax. Very fascinating stuff!

    …Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666″ (Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV).

    To see all the details showing why the Bible foretold of all these things, check out this article!


    GOD is sending out His end time warning:

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name'” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    In the Islamic religion they have man called the Mahdi who is known as their messiah of whom they are waiting to take the stage. There are many testimonies from people online who believe this man will be Barack Obama who is to be the biblical Antichrist based off dreams they have received. I myself have had strange dreams about him like no other person. So much so that I decided to share this information.

    He came on stage claiming to be a Christian with no affiliation to the Muslim faith…

    “In our lives, Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith. But there have been times where my faith has been questioned — by people who don’t know me — or they’ve said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing,” – Barack Obama

    …but was later revealed by his own family members that he indeed is a devout Muslim.

    So what’s in the name? The meaning of someones name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface…

    “And He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'” (Luke 10:18).

    In the Hebrew language we can uncover the meaning behind the name Barack Obama.

    Barack, also transliterated as Baraq, in Hebrew is: lightning

    baraq – Biblical definition:

    From Strongs H1299; lightning; by analogy a gleam; concretely a flashing sword: – bright, glitter (-ing, sword), lightning. (Strongs Hebrew word H1300 baraq baw-rawk’)

    Barak ‘O’bamah, The use of bamah is used to refer to the “heights” of Heaven.

    bamah – Biblical definition:

    From an unused root (meaning to be high); an elevation: – height, high place, wave. (Strongs Hebrew word H1116 bamah baw-maw’)

    The day following the election of Barack Obama (11/04/08), the winning pick 3 lotto numbers in Illinois (Obama’s home state) for 11/5/08 were 666.

    Obama was a U.S. senator for Illinois, and his zip code was 60606.

    Seek Jesus while He may be found…repent, confess and forsake your sins and trust in the savior! Jesus says we must be born again by His Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God…God bless!


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