christmas celebration in the philippines

Celebration of Christmas in the Philippines

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  • Post last modified:November 22, 2022
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For Filipinos, Christmas isn’t just a one-day holiday on December 25th. It’s a holiday season that starts as early as September and lasts through January. Filipino Christmas is the longest Christmas celebration in the world. And it’s a season filled with food, family, tradition, songs, and fun. If you’re curious about how you can celebrate Christmas in the Philippines, read on!

Christmas in Philippines

Christmas or Pasko is the particular time of the year that millions of people around the world celebrate. For Christians, Pasko commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Philippines, Pasko is a joyous and festive occasion celebrated with family and friends. Many Filipino traditions are associated with Pasko, such as singing Christmas carols, eating traditional food, and exchanging gifts. You can see houses decorated with colorful lights, parols, and Christmas trees. The holiday spirit is alive and well in the Philippines!

christmas decorations

Christmas Season Begins in September

Yes, you read that correctly. In the Philippines, Christmas or Pasko doesn’t just last for one day—it lasts for more than three months! The official start of the Filipino Christmas season is September 1st, and it doesn’t end until the first week of January. This extended celebration is known as the “ber” months, which comes from the first syllable of each month: September, October, November, and December.

During the ber months, Filipinos begin decorating their homes with elaborate displays of Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and lanterns. You can also hear Christmas carols and songs throughout the whole season.

Nativity scenes are also popular decorations. Many people also put up parols—large star-shaped Christmas lanterns—believed to guide the way for the Holy Family on Christ’s birthday.

Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga

The giant lantern parade is one of the famous Philippine Festivals during Christmas in the Philippines. Held every year on December 17th in San Fernando City, this event sees teams of artisans compete to create the most impressive giant lanterns. The parol makers use bamboo frames covered with colored cellophane or paper to make the Christmas lanterns. They can be up to 12 meters tall and 6 meters wide! 

christmas lantern maker

Simbang Gabi or Misa De Gallo Tradition

Another popular Christmas Tradition in the Philippines is Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo. The Simbang Gabi is a series of nine dawn Masses from December 16th to 24th. Many Filipinos attend these Masses, even though they have to wake up early in the morning! After Mass, attendees often enjoy traditional Christmas food like puto bumbong (purple rice cakes) and bibingka (rice cake with cheese).

simbang gabi

Christmas Eve is Bigger than Christmas Day

In the Philippines, Christmas Eve is a bigger deal than Christmas Day itself! Families gather on December 24th to feast on a vast meal known as Noche Buena. The meal typically includes traditional Filipino dishes such as lechon (roasted pig), hamonado (sweetened ham), queso de bola (ball-shaped cheese), fruit cake, and fruit salad. Of course, no Filipino feast would be complete without plenty of rice! After dinner, families attend midnight Mass together before heading home to open presents and spend time with loved ones.

noche buena

There is Aguinaldo for Everyone

Gift-giving is an integral part of Christmas celebration in the Philippines. Children often receive new clothes and toys from their parents as Christmas gifts. At the same time, adults give each other practical gifts like food or household items. However, many people also give cash gifts—known as Aguinaldo—to friends, family members, and even co-workers. You can typically give Aguinaldo in an envelope along with a handwritten note expressing well-wishes for the coming year.

Christmas Destinations in the Philippines

The Philippines is a great place to spend Christmas. Many beautiful destinations are perfect for celebrating the holiday. Whether you want to spend time in the city or enjoy the beauty of nature, there is a destination in the Philippines that is perfect for you. Here are some of the best places to visit during Christmas in Philippines.

christmas destinations in the philippines

SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City

The SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City is a popular destination for Filipino Christmas celebrations. The mall offers a wide range of shopping and dining options, as well as a variety of festive events and activities. Visitors can enjoy Christmas carols, participate in festive games and competitions, or admire the stunning decorations.

The Mall of Asia is also home to a large ice skating rink, making it the perfect place to enjoy the festive fun. With so much to see and do, the SM Mall of Asia is the ideal place to celebrate Christmas this year.

Makati City

Makati City is a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists. Every year, the Ayala Triangle comes alive with the Festival of Light. This celebration includes millions of lights and an incredible light show.

The city is also home to the best shopping malls in the country. You can also find a variety of restaurants and bars. Christmas in Makati City is an unforgettable experience you won’t miss.

Baguio City

One of the most popular Filipino destinations in the Philippines is Baguio City. Baguio is often called the “City of Pines” in the country’s northern mountains” due to its abundance of evergreen trees.

You can experience Baguio adorned with lights and decorations during the Christmas season.

Its excellent weather makes it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Tagaytay City

Tagaytay City is the perfect destination for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The City offers stunning views of Taal Lake and the volcano. The cool weather is also a welcome respite from the heat of Manila.

And, of course, no Christmas trip to Tagaytay would be complete without a visit to Sky Ranch. You can enjoy all your favorite rides against the stunning backdrop of Taal Lake in Sky Ranch. So if you’re looking for a festive getaway this Christmas, add Tagaytay City to your list.

Boracay Island

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and loved ones. And what better place to spend it than at the beautiful Boracay Island? With its crystalline waters and powdery white sand beaches, Boracay is a true paradise. During the Christmas season, the island comes alive with festive decorations and lively music. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, from water sports to beach parties.

You can enjoy Christmas carols sung on the beach or participate in a traditional Christmas feast. There’s also plenty of opportunity to relax and take in the island’s natural beauty. So if you’re looking for a unique Christmas destination that offers excitement and relaxation, add Boracay Island to your list.

FAQ

noche buena for christmas celebration in the philippines
How do they celebrate Christmas in the Philippines?

Christmas is a big deal in the Philippines! Families get together to celebrate, and there are lots of fun traditions. One tradition is called “Noche Buena,” which means “good night” in Spanish. Noche Buena is the party held on Christmas Eve, where all the family gets together to eat and drink. Another popular tradition is the “parol” or star lantern. Parol is a paper lantern with a star-shaped design lit up during Christmas. People also put up Christmas trees and decorate their houses with lights and ornaments. Merry Christmas!

What is unique about Christmas Celebration in the Philippines?

Christmas in Philippines is unique because it is a very festive time of year. Filipinos celebrate with lots of food, music, and dancing.
Christmas is considered the most important holiday in the Philippines. Families get together to celebrate, and everyone wears their best clothes. There are parades, fireworks displays, and parties all over the country. Christmas is such a big deal in the Philippines that some call it “the season of love.” 🙂

Why does Christmas celebration in the Philippines start in September?

Christmas celebration in the Philippines starts in September because the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, and Christmas is one of the most important holidays for Catholics. Many Filipinos begin celebrating Christmas by putting up decors, listening to Christmas songs, and buying presents. Some businesses even start selling Christmas-related items in September.

What are the Popular Decorations for Christmas in the Philippines?

The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, so Christmas decors usually revolve around religious themes. One of the most popular Christmas decors in the Philippines is the parol, a star-shaped lantern made from bamboo and paper.
Another popular decoration is the nativity scene, which typically features statues of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus lying in a manger. Many Filipino households also put up Christmas tree and decorate their house with lights and ornaments.
Malls are decorated for Christmas, with large wreaths, garlands, and trees adorning the entrances. Sometimes department stores will even display animatronics featuring Santa Claus and his elves.

Conclusion

Christmas celebration in the Philippines is a big deal! The Christmas traditions begins in September and lasts until the first week of January. On Christmas Eve, families gather for a huge feast called Noche Buena before attending midnight Mass and opening presents. Gift-giving is also essential to Filipino Christmas traditions, cash gifts are prevalent. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s fascinating to learn how other cultures mark this particular holiday season!

christmas celebration in the Philippines

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