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How Filipinos Celebrate Christmas & New Year

No one celebrates Christmas better than Filipinos. In fact, the Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. It starts as early as September or the “ber” months, and ends one Sunday after the New Year or “Three Kings”. And while Christmas is celebrated worldwide, we Filipinos have customs and traditions that we can uniquely call ours. Here are some of them.

In the Philippines, Christmas starts as early as September. You can already see Filipinos decorating their homes with Christmas lights, huge Christmas trees, and of course, Philippine lanterns, or ‘parols’ made from bamboo sticks and colorful papers.

Local Filipino Christmas Songs

Aside from this, you can feel the Christmas spirit when you go to the malls or listen to the radio because you’ll be hearing timeless Christmas classics by Jose Mari Chan and other Christmas carols.

chinese tea

Simbang Gabi: Attend Mass

The Philippines is a Christian country and that’s why we believe in going to church together as a family. From December 16 up until the 24th, Filipinos attend mass with their family before the break of dawn, this is why we call it simbang gabi. After this, we make a wish and we believe that it will come true.

Noche Buena: Food

The highlight of Christmas for us. We celebrate the eve of Christmas with our families, with all kinds of food on the table. We have lechon, pancit, leche flan, and other kinds of food.

We believe that it’s more fun in the Philippines, especially when you celebrate Christmas not only with your families, but with friends and other people that you love as well.

New Year

New Year’s Eve is one of the most exciting parts of the year. The people in the Philippines are used to welcome the New Year with a lot of variety of firecrackers, sky lanterns, and sky colors. They are awake at night to witness the colors that are put on the dark sky. They also prepare a meal to share with one another at midnight called Media Noche.

Most Filipinos believe that to have a prosperous year ahead, they have to prepare round foods on table such as fruits and round chocolates and candies in addition to those heavy meals prepared. Those round food symbolise coins, and coins mean prosperity. Others prepare real coins and put  those in small food saucers.


  • On new year’s day, Don’t spend money at all. Your thriftiness on the first day of the year will augur your money management in the coming year.
  • Do not take a bath on New Year’s Day and/or Good Friday. It is believed to cause one to get sick.
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Active traveller with a love for Asian food and Japanese anime.