We contacted our friend Jorge who we met while spending our month in Dumaguete, Philippines. He is the bishop of the ward (or group) for the Mormon church in a little town called “Valencia”, which is where we took the picture you see above. During our time there he and the rest of the ward made us feel so welcome, and we loved being able to see them every Sunday. We fell in love with that area, as absolutely anyone would.
When we asked him to share some of his Christmas traditions, we had no idea just how serious Philippines takes their holidays. Without spoiling the rest of the post, we present: “12 Countries in 12 Days of Christmas” Part 8: Philippines!
What is a typical Christmas in Philippines like?
Christmas celebration in the Philippines is a very special occasion for all individuals and families. We celebrate Christmas for almost a month beginning from the 24th of December to January 06, thus we are dubbed as the country who celebrates Christmas the longest in the world. As a matter of fact, when Ber months (starting September to December) start Filipinos are already preparing and decorating their houses with Christmas lanterns and other decorations. Filipinos both old and young during Christmas time will sing Christmas carols to houses. Every house where we sang Christmas carol will either give money or candies and other goodies as part of the tradition. The different towns or barangays (counties) have Christmas decor contests or Lanterns we call “parol” in Filipino, which symbolizes the star during Christ’s birth.
What are some Christmas traditions in your own family?
In our family aside from giving and receiving gifts, this is the time for family reunions. Grandparents, uncles and aunts will give something to kids and other family members. During this time, games with prizes will be played and after that the food prepared by the women will be enjoyed by everyone.
What foods/meals are a part of the holiday season?
Most Filipinos will prepare “lechon” (roast pig, cooked in an open fire which is the traditional) on their tables. Others will prepare traditional sweets like suman ( sweet sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves), in Visayas we call it “budbud”, “bingka, “puto bumbong”, and fruits like apples, other round fruits. According to the old folks, round fruits will bring good fortune. Please see attachment below for this Filipino foods.
What songs/music do Filipinos listen to?
Filipinos listen both english and Tagalog Christmas songs as well as Cebuano songs in our area. The latest hit songs in Tagalog is the jingle produced by one of the leading TV stations entitled “Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo”. You can search this on youtube as well as other Filipino songs like “Pasko na Sinta Ko”, “Ang Pasko ay Kay Saya”, “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit”.
What symbol represents Christmas best?
The symbol the represents Christmas best in the Philippines is christmas decoration called “Parol.” Just type “Parol in google and you will find plenty of this there.