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.
- If you’ve never been to the Philippines during Christmas, the following posts give us a taste of “Paskong Pinoy.”
- “Filipino Christmas Traditions to Share With Your Family.” (by Deborah of Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix )
- “What is Christmas Like in the Philippines?” (by Carmela of Bellissimamma)
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.
- Leah Sicat shares her whole family’s Christmas tradition of making the deliciously sweet and sticky suman: “Banana Leaves, Rice, and Coconut: What I Learned About Filipino Christmas Traditions, Memories, and Diaspora”
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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. Do you like word games? Here is a Word Scramble of Filipino Christmas-themed words to try for yourself or print several out for your family to try at home or have it available as an activity during your Christmas party.
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.”
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 teach so much more about Filipino heritage and their many celebrations.
Shopping for someone with style? Get exquisite handcrafted products made by Filipino artisans at Cambio & Co.