Traditions are awesome. It gives me something more to look forward to during the holidays. Growing up as a Filipino-American, it was fun to learn the traditions we have at home and compare them to the traditions of my friends at school. I thought it would be fun to write about the Filipino traditions I grew up with. We haven’t been able to do all of them this year, but they are still strong in my heart.
“-ber.” First off, the Christmas season does not start after Thanksgiving. It doesn’t even start after Halloween. It starts on September 1st. We celebrate during all the months ending in “-ber.” September, October, November, December. Trees, music, the works. It’s amazing. It officially ends on the Epiphany, January 6.
Parols. When I was little, I just called these “pretty stars.” They are made out of colorful papers and bamboo sticks. Pretty much every Filipino house had one or ten in it. Just like any other Christmas decoration, they make the Christmas spirit so much more prominent to Filipinos.
Noche buena. We definitely did not do this particular tradition this year, but we usually do. We attend Mass at midnight, and then, we feast. Pancit, lumpia, lechon, ham, everything. It’s better than Thanksgiving. We party into the early morning, then we wake up and do it again.
Simbang Gabi. Starting on December 16, Simbang Gabi is a daily mass celebration to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, ending on Christmas Eve. We didn’t attend any Simbang Gabi masses this year, but when I was little, I loved them because I got to see my friends every day. Now, I get to appreciate it for what it is. Mama Mary is awesome.
Now that I have my own family, I’m excited to continue these traditions and begin some of our own. This was my first holiday season with Donald as a married couple and our first as a family of four. Our family is growing, and our traditions are changing. I can’t wait to see where we go in the years to come.
From my family to yours, Maligayang Pasko!