Christmas in the Philippines

Perhaps my affinity towards all things Christmas can be attributed to my heritage. I was born and raised in Canada but I do have vague childhood memories of spending a few Christmases in The Motherland. Fun Fact: The Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. Like, starts in SEPTEMBER. Tree goes up after Halloween and comes down on Valentines day. We don’t mess around.

Filipinos typically have a tight ninja grip on traditions, and I think Christmas truly embodies Philippine culture: devoutly Catholic, a cultural blend of strong Spanish influence intermingled with the random mish-mash of other cultures, and bringing friends/family together through endless amounts of food and get togethers (“Filipino” and “merry making” are pretty much synonymous). For example, starting December 16th, everyone treks to the nearby church for “Misa de Gallo” at 3 or 4am (in literal Spanish translation, “Mass of the Rooster” because it’s SO early in the morning), then they go home and drink hot chocolate (tsokolate) while eating sweet treats bought from the local outdoor food stalls like pandesal, bibingka, and puto bumbong. Repeat. Every morning. (Until the 24th on Noche Buena for “Misa de Aguinaldo”)

The last time my family was in the homeland, we brought back a capiz-shell lantern, called a parol. It was painstakingly difficult to bring back to Canada from the Philippines because it’s so fragile. But I love that it’s an icon of Filipino Christmas! Whenever I see a parol hanging in someone’s window here in Canada, it’s a cheerful reminder of all the traditions and festivities in The Motherland.

Merry Christmas, folks! What are some of your Christmas traditions?

<3 MC

*images via


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