Filipinos celebrate the Yuletide season in a unique way which the Philippines is known for. While every country has its own Yuletide traditions, Filipinos have been celebrating Christmas in the most colorful way—with various illuminations and more decorative props than ever. Having such a long holiday starting from September to January, Filipino culture is bound to have more Christmas traditions than usual.
Although the pandemic is far from over, there’s no stopping the Filipino spirit in keeping the Christmas Season alive. Filipinos were still able to celebrate Christmas in a traditional way while still keeping it safe and fun. And you can too!
For instance, setting up a Christmas tree and decorating your house with Christmas lights and the traditional parol is one of the Christmas traditions that Filipinos can still do in the “new normal.” With a well-decorated house that gives off Christmas vibes, staying at home will be the least of your problems.
The real hurdle lies within attending late night or early morning Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, which is a common tradition among Filipinos. It is believed that completing all nine days of this religious practice grants any wish you may have by the end of the ninth mass. Thankfully, online masses have been conducted by several Catholic churches and other Christian religions since the pandemic started. There is always a way to celebrate this intimate tradition so go join a virtual Simbang Gabi with your family and friends.
The pandemic has also posed a challenge for reunions, leaving families and friends separated for most of the year. Especially for young adults who moved out for college and parents who are overseas for work, reuniting at home is much more difficult than it already was pre-pandemic. Enter: virtual celebrations.
As the only options for far-away family members to gather, relevant social media platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet compensates for the lack of face-to-face reunions. Through video conferences, there are various fun activities you can do with your loved ones. Online Christmas parties are a new trend wherein participants can play virtual games and interact with each other. Anyone can host an online event and invite the rest of the family including distant relatives. Talk about a fun and safe reunion!
The traditional way of exchanging gifts is another fun activity that your family can organize online to celebrate Christmas in the safety of your homes. For long distance relationships with family, friends or loved ones, you can send gifts via delivery. Filipinos have a way of spicing things up so when exchanging gifts, not only must you find the perfect gift for your manita or manito, but you must also describe them, have everyone guess who it is, and sing the classic I Love My Manita/Manito Yes I Do song before presenting your gift.
Most people eat Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas night, but Filipinos often wake up at midnight to celebrate Noche Buena. The same goes with Media Noche which is a feast and a gathering of the whole family to welcome the New Year. A lavish feast of traditional Filipino Christmas dishes usually include lechon, queso de bola, hamon, spaghetti, and fruit salad.
Despite these unprecedented times, spending Christmas with your family and loved ones will always be fun, exciting, and memorable. Indeed, Filipinos will encounter conflicts in scheduling reunions and sending gifts, among others. However, the Filipino Christmas spirit remains as lively as it was before. After all, sharing love will always be the highlight of the Christmas season.