My wife is from the Philippines and for Christmas last year I made a sign featuring the phrase "Maligayang Pasko", which means Merry Christmas in Tagalog. If you or someone you know is from the Philippines, you have probably heard this saying during the holiday season. The one I made is 3- 1/2 x 24". It’s got hangers on the back, but we decided to set it on a mantle. Since she couldn’t be home for Christmas, I thought this handcrafted sign would make it a little more special.
Christmas in the Philippines
Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the Philippines. It is observed from December 16 with the beginning of Simbáng Gabi and lasts until the Epiphany. With so much celebration, it is one of the happiest places in the world to be this time of year.
Simbáng Gabi, which translates to Night Mass, is celebrated from December 16 to December 24 and is usually done very early in the morning. This practice originated in the early days of Spanish rule as a compromise for farmers who started their day before sunrise to avoid the heat in the fields. Priests began to say Mass in the early mornings and this became the Philippine custom.
The last day of the Simbang Gabi is Christmas Eve. It is called Misa de Gallo, which literally translates to "Rooster's Mass". Midnight Mass is celebrated, followed by the all-night feast Noche Buena. The streets are filled with vendors and smells of native foods like bibingka and puto-bumbong. What a memorable night!
Christmas Day is spent with family. It is customary in the Philippines to visit family members in the morning, especially the elders. After a special blessing, the elders will usually give the children a small gift of money called Aguinaldo. After a Christmas lunch, the rest of the day is spent enjoying the company of others.
There are so many more Christmas customs and celebrations in the Philippines. If you have any special memories or would like to add any comments, please feel free to share!