Our virtual world tour continues with Christmas in the Philippines. Christmas is the most important holiday in the Philippines and celebrations officially begin each year on December 16th. Filipinos tradition involves 9 pre-dawn early morning masses with the first mass on December 16th and the last of the series of masses held on Christmas day.
The Open House tradition called Noche Buena features Filipino Christmas foods of Bibingka (a coconut rice cake) and Puto Bumbong (also a rice dish that is a vibrant purple color).
Christmas lights are also a large part of Philippine Christmas traditions. Houses and businesses and entire neighborhoods decorate with brightly colored lights and large glowing stars. Vibrant colors are an important part of this tradition and the Christmas light displays are breathtaking.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the traditional Parol - a festive paper lantern in a star shape. School children in the Philippines make paper lanterns during Christmastime from bamboo sticks and paper. The Parol is a tradition that is distinctive to the Philippines and below is a nice video on how to make one yourself:
Nativity scenes are also on display in the Philippines at Christmas time. The Christ child (called Santo Nino in the Philippines) is displayed in a traditional nativity setting with the holy family, three kings, and the manger scene.