5 Things Your Family Does for Christmas If You’re Filipino

As the Asian country with one of the largest Christian populations, it comes as no surprise that Christmas, or “Pasko,” is one of the biggest holidays in the Philippines. Check out these five uniquely Filipino Christmas traditions!


1. Simbang Gabi

Roughly translated as “Mass at Night,” Simbang Gabi is a nine-night tradition that involves waking up in the wee hours of the morning and journeying to your nearby church to attend a pre-dawn mass. Afterwards, the community will typically come together for a friendly breakfast. Many Filipinos will traditionally make a wish that they believe will be granted at the end of the nine-day prayer.



2. Noche Buena

Most the “Pasko” festivities in Philippines will take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. On that night, Filipino families share in Noche Buena, the Christmas Eve meal which happens after the midnight Christmas mass.


#FilipinoChristmas Dishes: Jamon, Embutido and Pork BBQ

A post shared by Kalaya’an Mendoza (@kalamendoza) on


3. Parol

Walking through the streets of Philippines in December, you can be sure to find scores of “parols,” or light-up Christmas star lanterns, hanging from the roofs of homes everywhere.



4. Puto bumbong

During the Christmas season in Philippines, it is tradition to eat “puto bumbong,” a type of Filipino delicacy, typically purple in color, made from glutinous rice and eaten with shredded coconut and brown sugar. It’s a favorite at Noche Buena parties!



5. Christmas caroling

While singing carols during Christmas time isn’t a tradition exclusive to Philippines, what sets this musical custom apart from the rest of the world is that caroling in the Philippines is mostly for children. During the season of “Pasko,” kids are encouraged to go around the neighborhood singing Filipino carols in hopes of getting bits of change in return.