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Filipino New Year’s Eve Traditions

Another year has gone. For most, it is filled with many successes and challenges alike. For sure, many memories have been shared throughout the past 12 months. New Year’s Eve is a way to commemorate the year, to celebrate with loved ones, to reflect, and to wish for a prosperous new year.

New Year’s celebrations tend to be festive, joyful, and filled with unique traditions. Growing up, my Filipino family’s New Year’s festivities included the following traditions:

  • Family-centered: It was a tradition that the family stays together on New Year’s Eve. Whether with immediate or extended, our New Year’s Eve celebrations are traditionally centered around family.
  • Having a Clean Home: We necessarily don’t like to keep a dirty home generally but for New Year’s it is imperative to do a more thorough clean of the home and start the new year fresh. Sweeping, mopping, decluttering and having fresh towels and linens.
  • 12 lucky round fruits: My mom emphasized the importance of displaying 12 fruits (especially round fruits) on our table. She explained to me that for New Year’s, the round shape is good luck and represents good wealth and fortune. The number 12 represents the 12 months of the year. 
  • Jingle coins in your pocket: During the last minute counting down to midnight, each person would jingle piggy banks or put coins in their pockets to jingle. When the clock strikes midnight, coins would be tossed to the ground for others to gather.
  • Jump at the stroke of midnight to get taller: Another tradition at midnight is to jump as high as possible. It was said that jumping as high as we can help us grow taller. (Being that I’ve been 5 foot tall since I reached adolescence, I know jumping has not realistically been helping me grow, but we still continue this fun tradition to jump for joy at midnight. 
  •  NoisemakersWith our voices as noisemakers, party horns, pots and spoons, and jingling piggy banks our family gets loud! We cheer for the new year and the family’s volume sure is contagious.
  • Food: For all Filipino celebrations in general, food is one of the main highlights. For New Year’s Eve there are several circular foods offered. Some of the ones our family would serve are:
    •  Ginataang bilo bilo- a sweet coconut milk stew of sticky rice balls, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, and plantains). 
    • Puto- a Filipino steamed sweet cake)
    • Arroz caldo- a gingery rice soup with chicken and hardboiled eggs.
    •  Sopas – a milky chicken macaroni noodle soup with quail eggs
    • Pansit or sotanghon– Not a round food dish, but the Filipino noodles represent long life. (Pansit is also traditionally served on birthdays)
  • Wearing polka dots: As mentioned, circles mean good fortune, so with that, Filipinos will wear clothes with polka-dots to wish for prosperity in the new year. 

These traditions are some of the greatest memories I have with my family during this holiday. I hope to continue sharing many of them with our younger generations and to make new traditions as well.

What does New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day look like for your family? Feel free to share your traditions in our comment section or on social media.

We have also created a printable activity for your child to do. It teaches how to say Happy New Year in Tagalog and to practice writing it. It also includes a second page for your child to illustrate and color what New Year’s looks like for your family.

It is a great activity to have a discussion on your family’s traditions and also a wonderful keepsake to save for the future and look back on what the New Year’s celebration looked like through the eyes of your child/children during that year. The pages can be printed in the future years too if you want to date it and see the progression of the illustrations and memories.

Get access to the Filipino New Year’s Tradition Activity printable here.

Whatever traditions you may have with your family and friends, we wish you a very prosperous new year! Or in Tagalog, “Manigong Bagong Taon!” 

Filipino Christmas Traditions Blog Round-Up

Christmas in the Philippines is known to be one of the most festive and grand celebrations. Between the assortment of delicious food, bright and colorful decorations, large family gatherings, and Simbang Gabi, Pasko (which is Tagalog for Christmas), is such a special celebration that carries on through the month and even longer.

Filipinos all over the world celebrate this wondrous holiday in ways that both have commonalities and that also include traditions unique to each family. This post is a round-up of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who each are taking a moment to share their special traditions.

Paskong Pinoy

Food

There’s nothing like the feeling of togetherness food can bring to family and friends. Whether preparing it together or sharing a meal together, food can bring special memories for holiday traditions.

  • Ria Pretekin of Urban Ohana recounts her interfaith family’s celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah in her post, “Latkes and Lumpia.” Much of their tradition is decorating the tree with Filipino decorations including mini parols, attending Christmas mass, and taking pictures with Santa.

Reading Intercultural Stories while Co-Sleeping

 

  • For the holidays, Chef Rafi enjoys many kinds of Filipino foods including morcon, embutido, adobo, and hamonado, and take their New Year’s fruit picture. Chef Rafi’s YouTube channel has videos in multiple Philippine languages showing how to make these foods, such as their traditional pork adobo. In addition, they share another popular Christmas tradition of making the sweet, nutty dessert known as Food for the Gods (Head over here to see their video in Cebuano, Bisaya, and English) 

Crafts and Activities

  • Are you or your kids into those surprise balls? This Surprise queso de bola activity (created by Albert @Filipeanut) is the perfect blend of the widely-known surprise ball with a Filipino twist. It is a Filipino Christmas tradition to serve queso de bola (ball of cheese) during Noche Buena. Learn how to make this fun craft here.
  • Maligayang Pasko! A Filipino Christmas unit: If you have children from Kindergarten through third grade, this printable unit on Filipino Christmas (from Teachers Pay Teachers) might be for you. It includes writing activities, a booklist, vocabulary cards, a mini-booklet, a parol craft, and more.

    Image source: Teaching With Style from Teachers Pay Teachers

The Parol

Last, but certainly not least, we must talk about the parol when we bring up Filipino Christmas traditions! The parol is a brightly colored star-shaped lantern that is displayed magnificently lighting up our homes and streets during the holiday season. When seen, the parol symbolizes Christmas at its best.

Image source: timpladc.com

Timpla illustrates the beauty and symbolism of the Filipino parol in this post.

Fil-Am Learners Activity: Make a Filipino Christmas Traditions Parol

In honor of Christmas and sharing all of these wonderful traditions, we have created a printable craft for you and your child to make. It is a mini parol to draw and write some of your favorite Christmas traditions on. The parol can be decorated and hung as a reminder of the special traditions, whether it be food, activities, games, songs, places that you share with your loved ones on Christmas. Get your printable parol here.

So let’s hear from you. What are your favorite Filipino Christmas traditions? Comment below to share. Our community loves to hear and share cultural stories with each other.

Related post: Managing the Stress of the Holidays

Although Christmas is such a joyous time of year, it can also be hectic at times with the preparations and planning. Roanne of Kalamansi Juice shares her tips to help minimize the stress in her post, “A Filipina Mom’s Mini Survival Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday.”

Image source: Pixabay

Books About Christmas & Other Celebrations in the Philippines

Do you know someone who loves to read? These books make great reads for this holiday season and teaches so much more about Filipino heritage and their many celebrations.

  

Shopping

Shopping for someone with style? Get exquisite handcrafted products made by Filipino artisans at Cambio & Co.

Being Thankful (Nagpapasalamat)

With Thanksgiving on its way, it is the perfect time to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for. In another one of our posts, “Showing Respect in the Filipino Culture,” we mention the Tagalog phrase, “salamat po,” which means “thank you” as a way to show respect to others. To express that we are thankful for someone or something, we use the phrase, “nagpapasalamat ako” (translated “I’m thankful”). For example, if we wanted to say, “I am thankful for my family,” we would say in Tagalog, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa aking pamilya.”

We have created a craft activity for you and/or your child to make a beautiful gratitude banner. It can be hung this month (or any time of the year) as a visual reminder of all of the wonderful things you are thankful for.

The printable templates and labels for the banner are FREE and are available in our “Shop”.  Once you download and print them out, pictures can be pasted on or drawings may be illustrated and colored to go with each Tagalog/English label.

Blank labels are also included for you to customize and fill in your own response of what you are thankful for. 

Head over here to get access to your Tagalog Thankful (Nagpapasalamat) banner.

Filipino American History Month

It’s October! That means it’s time to celebrate Filipino American month. There is so much to be told and shared from the history of Filipino Americans. When did Filipino first migrate to the United States? How were their lives like? How did they establish themselves in this country?

The Filipino American story, that is not published and shared enough in history books, in our country, is out there to be uncovered by more people and passed along so that our current and future generations can see the hardship and beauty of this culture.

 

This month we will be sharing resources and facts from Filipino American history. Keep reading on to find a list of resources.

While learning more about the history of our culture, we have created a printable fact sheet graphic organizer for you or your kids to fill in some facts that resonated with you. Head over here to get access to this printable.

Resources to Learn About Filipino American History

Events to Celebrate Filipino American History Month

  • FilAmFest 2018: Filipino American Arts & Culture Festival: October 27, 2018 @ 10:00-6:00 p.m. at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (Details here)

  • Kababayan: A Filipino American History Month Celebration: October 18, 2018 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm at the Tacoma Art Museum (Details here)
  • UNDSCVRD SF: “Pinay Power” A Filipino American History Month Celebration: October 20, 2018 4:00-10:00 at UNDSCVRD in San Francisco (Details here)

  • Filipino American History Month Celebration at San Francisco City Hall Rotunda: October 19, 2018 @ 5:00-7:30 (Details here).

Can’t attend these events? Here are 9 Ways to Celebrate Filipino American History Month (by Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix).

Books

  • Salamat Po! was written by Adriana Allen, a mother who wanted to teach her Filipino American children about the Filipino culture, but couldn’t find many books on it, so she decided to write her own book to share. It is an adorable picture book teaching children how to show respect in the Filipino culture, which is a very important value. (To learn more about showing respect in the Filipino culture, see related post here).
  • America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, tells the story of growing up in the Philippines, migrating to America, and the struggles as a first-generation Filipino-American.

Stay tuned for more ….

We’re just getting started! So stay tuned because we will continue to post resources, activities, and books to delve in Filipino culture, to commemorate our heritage month. Check back throughout the month for more cultural goodies. If you know of any resources that you’d love to share, feel free to comment below and we can add them to our list.

You are also welcome to sign up to be a part of our Tagalog Tuesday Tribe so you don’t miss any updates.

 

School Words in Tagalog

It’s Back to School season! We are starting a unit to learn about school-themed vocabulary words to kick off our season returning to school.

Activity 1: School Tagalog Pictionary

Our first activity for this unit is School Pictionary in Tagalog/English. It includes 18 pictured vocabulary cards to cut out. They can be used as flash cards to learn and review the words first. Then the cards can be used in an exciting game of Tagalog Pictionary.

Directions:

First, access the printable cards here to download and print.

Cut out the vocabulary cards.

Review the words.

Place the cards in a container in which the other player(s) cannot see the card you are pulling.

Have a large poster paper or whiteboard such as this one.

Players can take turns being the one drawing the image, while the other player or players try to guess the word using the Tagalog vocabulary for it.

Ready for a fun game of Tagalog Pictionary? Head over here to access your printable.

Activity 2: Tagalog Memory Game: School-Themed Words

Using the same vocabulary words from activity 1 (Tagalog Pictionary), we have created cards to play Memory or a matching game. There is one set of picture cards and another set of just the Tagalog word for the picture.

Flip the cards over face down on a flat surface. Then choose a card from the picture pile and a card from the vocabulary word pile to see if you can make a match.

If you make a match, you can have another turn. If not, it will be someone else’s turn (If you are playing with other players).

It is a great test of memory and also a way to review Tagalog vocabulary for school-themed words. 

Click here to access this printable!

Stay tuned for more school-themed Tagalog activities soon …

Travel Activities in Tagalog

It’s summertime and many people are traveling and going on vacation. What a perfect time to learn Tagalog words all about traveling.

This post includes 3 different lesson activities with a travel theme:

Activity 1: My “Maleta” Suitcase

This first activity teaches you the vocabulary words for items you possibly would pack in your suitcase. Here is a four-page printable for your child to learn the names of common items to pack, a suitcase to “pack” these items in, and two packing lists (one with English translation and the other is Tagalog only).

First, the child will decorate his/her suitcase (or “maleta” in Tagalog).

The next step is to color the items and cut them out. Review the English and Tagalog words for the travel supplies.

One by one, the travel supply will be placed in the suitcase and a dry erase marker can be used to check it off on the list. Once the child is comfortable, the Tagalog only Packing List can be used.

It can be printed on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper. It will be more durable on cardstock or if the papers will be laminated. For repeated use, the packing lists can be slipped into one of these reusable dry-erase pocket sleeves.

Ready to take off with a fun activity to learn travel supplies in Tagalog? Get access to the printables here.

Activity 2:Tagalog Traveling Board Game- (Forms of Transportation in Tagalog)

Here is a printable board game to review numbers 1 through 5 in Tagalog and to introduce five different forms of transportation in Tagalog. Our family is big on board games to have fun together and if we can combine it with concepts to learn, even better!

Here are some tips to make the game more durable:

  • Print the game on cardstock.
  • Laminate the game, game pieces, and number cards.
  • Glue the game pieces on a thin cardboard (e.g. cereal box, tissue box …etc.) Snip the bottom and insert another cardboard to help the game piece stand. Here are some images to show you the steps.

 

  • First, glue the game piece to a cardboard that is slightly larger than the game piece.

Cut a small slit at the bottom of the piece. Be careful not to cut through the picture. 

Cut a small rectangular piece of the cardboard the same length as the game piece. 

Insert the cardboard inside of the slit of the game piece. (It will look like a +).

Trim off any cardboard as necessary to help make it stand up straight.

Ready to play a game AND learn the different forms of transportation in Tagalog? Plus, you get to practice counting in Tagalog! Then, head over here to access these printables.

Activity 3: Taglish Postcard

In this activity, you will be writing a postcard to a family or friend, pretending you are taking a vacation somewhere you have been (or would like to go). The introductory page teaches you sample Tagalog phrases to include in your postcard message. There are two versions included (One with pre-typed fill-in-the blank sentences and another with just a blank message for you to write your whole letter). 

Directions to Assemble the Postcard:

After reviewing the Introductory pages and Tagalog phrases, choose which type of postcard you will create first (whether it’s the blank one or the one with a pre-typed message). Cut out both rectangles.

Glue the back of the picture portion of the postcard to the back of the letter portion.

Now you have your postcard ready to write in and draw a beautiful picture of the location where you have “traveled”!

Ready for this fun printable activity? Head over here to access your “Taglish Postcard.”

Activity 4: Jeepney Trail of Facts

Did you know that the jeepney is one of the most popular forms of public transportation in the Philippines? Learn more about it with this interactive printable.

In the “Jeepney Trail of Facts” activity, you will be taking a “drive” through a winding path in the Philippines and will be learning facts about the jeepney along the way. 

First you will need the access the printable

Next, you will cut out the jeepney.

Then, you will cut out the “trail.”

Next, get a craft stick and tape.

Stick the picture of the jeepney to the craft stick (with tape or glue).

Finally, take your jeepney for a drive through the path and read the facts along the route.

(photo credit: myelitedetail.us)

For a bonus activity, download and enjoy coloring the Jeepney Coloring Page here (from Coloringpagesforfree.net)

We hope this activity has helped you to learn a bit more about Filipino culture and a form of Filipino public transportation. Get access to the “Jeepney Trail of Facts” craft printable here.

 

All About Me (Tagalog Activities About Yourself)

This week we are focusing on ourselves. The activities will teach how to introduce yourself, including your name, your gender, your birthday, age, and favorite color.

We have created a 1-page mini-poster for your child to describe himself/herself. This lesson’s vocabulary include :

  • ako = I
  • ko = my
  • pangalan = name
  • edad = age
  • kaarawan = birthday
  • kulay = color
  • babae = girl
  • lalake = boy

Here are related posts that incorporate the concepts in this activity:

There are many more aspects to describing a person that we will cover in future activities. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, get access to the All About Me poster here.

Colors - mga kulay

Teaching Colors in Tagalog (Mga Kulay)

Teaching Colors (mga kulay) in Tagalog:

One of the early basic concepts we teach children is colors. No matter what language your family speaks, color is such a universal concept because our world is surrounded by color. From the food we eat, to the toys they play with, to the color of their hair and clothes, colors are something that children interact with daily.

Because colors are easily found around us, it can easily be applied in daily conversation and apply the Tagalog vocabulary frequently.

Here are some suggested activities to teach and reinforce colors:

Read books about colors:

There are a few Tagalog children’s books as resources but here are a few that we found:

Colors in Tagalog (by Mary Aflague and illustrated by Gerard Aflague)

Caroline’s Color Dreams (written by Tanner Call and Joshua Timothy)  is a bilingual book about a girl named Caroline who has a colorful dream and learns about the color wheel.

Oh My Kulay!  is a vibrant, well-composed concept book that teaches Tagalog words for colors, fruits, and vegetables.

(This adorable book was written by Dr. Jocelyn Francisco and illustrated by Jamie Lee Ortiz. She also has other concept books for children at thelittleyellowjeepney.com.)

teaching colors in tagalog

Sing songs about the colors in Tagalog

Here is a video that teaches colors and other educational concepts in Tagalog.

Below are two Fil-Am Learners original songs for individual colors.

More songs to come in the future …

Sort items by color

(e.g. sorting laundry, sorting toys, food, things out in nature, or anything that interests your child). teaching colors in tagalog

Printable activities

Here is a 14-page lesson activity reinforcing colors in Tagalog. It is geared for preschool through elementary age children and can be used to practice in class or at home.

kulay3d

Playdough Playmats

Playing with playdough is an engaging sensory activity for kids. There are so many ways to use playdough to learn and use your creativity. Sign up below to get printables for each color that you can transform into playdough playmats. A tip is to print on cardstock and to laminate each page for multiple uses. On the playmats, the kids will be able to:

  • Shape the playdough to spell the color word in Tagalog.
  • Create an object of that color using the playdough.
  • Use their creativity to make their own playdough creation with the same color.

You can buy playdough or find playdough recipes online. To get you started, here is a list of 20 playdough recipes (from Paging Fun Mums)

Alternative to Playdough: Playfoam

If you aren’t a big fan of playdough, playdough is another option to build creations. It’s squishy and easy to sculpt. A huge benefit is that it never dries out. Learn more about Playfoam here.

Head over here to get access to your Tagalog Colors (Mga Kulay) Playdough Playmats


There are so many interactive ways to teach colors and a new language! What are some ways you incorporate teaching your children colors? Please share more ideas not included in this post or let us know if you’ve implemented any of the ones we shared.

Parts of the Body (in Tagalog)

Parts of the body (Part 1): Booklet & Song

We will be learning about the parts of the body in Tagalog for the next couple of weeks. Here is a modified “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to kick off this unit. Watch, learn, and sing along with us!

Learn about some of the parts of the body (mga parte ng katawan) with this unit activity.  It includes:

      • 12 vocabulary words with pictures and the word in Tagalog
      • a mini-booklet with sentences about the body parts and blank responses for your child to fill in
      • lyrics to the song: “Sampung mga daliri” (10 Fingers)

Click here to access these printables 

  • Here is a video (from Robie317) of “Sampung mga daliri” to watch while following along with the lyrics.

Parts of the body (Part 2): Memory Game

Here is a Memory Game with additional body parts not included in Part 1. It comes with picture flashcards and 3 sets of cards to play memory while practicing the body parts in Tagalog and English.

Go here to access the Body Parts Memory Game.

Additional Extension Activities

  • Play “Simon Says” and ask them to use their various body parts to do something or to touch the body parts (using the Tagalog word)
  • Trace an outline of your child’s body on a large butcher paper or using chalk outside on the pavement. Then have them label the body parts in Tagalog.
  • Watch this animated YouTube video (by Filipino for Kids) on the parts of the body in Tagalog

  • Accompany this unit with the “Mga Bahagi ng Katawan” booklet from DinoLingo Tagalog. (DinoLingo provides language lesson resources with books, vocabulary cards, CD’s, DVD’s in various foreign languages). You can purchase single units on Amazon or head to the DinoLingo website for packages.


There will be another unit to come about additional parts of the body and more activities, so stay tuned ….

Teaching Articles of Clothing in Tagalog

This dress-up activity is a fun way to teach articles of clothing in Tagalog. Your kids can color and design the clothes how they want and cut them out to dress up the included “doll.” It is a blank doll so your child/student can choose whoever they would like to dress up, whether it’s themselves or another person or character.

Click to get access to this printable activity

Additional Activities:

  • When doing laundry, practice naming the articles of clothing in Tagalog.
  • When selecting an outfit for the day, ask your child to list the clothes he/she will wear in Tagalog.

Bonus Activity for Tagalog Tuesday Tribe

For subscribers to our Tagalog Tuesday tribe, you will get an additional bonus activity to practice clothes in Tagalog. Not yet a part of our tribe? Come along and join us to get more weekly freebies and educational resources!