New Year’s Eve in the Philippines

Bisperas ng Bagong Taon. is a festive time in the Philippines. There are a lot of traditions that Filipinos follow in the belief of ushering in a prosperous new year. Many of these customs you may recognize as showing a Chinese influence.
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Filipino Foods in New Year’s Eve. Special food is prepared, but not like the Noche Buena feast on Christmas Eve, although some families might be wealthy enough to prepare another lechon (roasted pig) after serving one on Christmas. For sure,pancit (noodles) are cooked to signify long life, as are eggs signifying new life. Traditional delicacies made from malagkit (glutinous or sticky rice) like biko are prepared — that’s so good fortune will stick around throughout the year. Fish and chicken are not served because these animals scrounge for food, and we don’t want to have to scrounge for food in the coming year.

Part of the fun in getting ready for New Year’s Eve is to come up with twelve (12) round fruits, each to signify a month of the year. Ideally, there should be twelve different fruits — grapes, oranges, clementines, cantaloupe, pomelo, watermelon… It’s a tough challenge, so half the fruits likely end up being non-circular like mangoes and apples. The fruit that Filipinos most associate with the celebration of the new year and will rarely be without is imported ubas, purple grapes that are very round.
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The Noisiest Time of the Year in the Philippines.
The same way Americans enjoy Fourth of July fireworks, Filipinos go all out with the noise on New Year’s eve. Filipino paputok (firecrackers) come in so many shapes and go by very interesting names — judas belt (a string of firecrackers), super lolo (“grandfather”), kwitis (from the Spanish word cohetes meaning rocket), bawang (“garlic”), airwolf…
Children love scratching the dancing firecracker watusi against concrete sidewalks and cemented surfaces, although the government has been warning against it because of chemical poisoning.
Pots and pans are clanged to scare away evil spirits. A few men shoot guns in the air if they think they can get away with it. Cars and trucks are vroomed and horns are tooted to cause as much noise as possible. Empty cans are dragged all around, whistles are blown.
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OTHER FILIPINO TRADITIONS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE. 
Before the clock strikes midnight to herald in the new year, all doors must be left wide open to allow good luck to enter. This includes cupboards, drawers, cabinets… windows!
Filipinos try to dress in polka-dots because the roundness signifies prosperity. Pockets are filled with round coins, which are jangled to attract wealth. Coins are also left on top of tables and in drawers.
At the exact moment of midnight, Filipino children jump as high as they can because they believe this will make them taller.
Whatever condition your wallet is in when the New Year arrives, so it will be the rest of the year. Make sure to put in the money your received on Christmas. The same goes for the neatness of your home.

Filipinos spend the last days of the year vigorously cleaning everything, especially of dust. However, on thefirst day of the new year, you are not supposed to do any cleaning. No cleaning on New Year’s Day itself!
And don’t start the year off by spending money. Frugality on the first day sets the tone for wise money management in the coming year.

Christmas in the Philippines – A Filipino Culture

Christmas (Pasko): A National Fiesta
The Philippine is known as the “Land of Fiestas” and at Christmas time, this is especially true.
Filipinos are proud to proclaim their Christmas Celebration to be the longest and merriest in the world. It begins formally on December 16 with the attendance at the
first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses and continues
on nonstop until the first Sunday of January.
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Filipinos enjoys decorating their homes not only with star lanterns
but also with all sorts of Christmas decors.
Christmas in the Philippines is a mixture of Western and Native Filipino traditions.
Santa Clause, the Christmas tree, sending cards, sweets and candies,
family reunions, singing carols, Christmas party, foods, giving gifts, and espacially
the LOVE.
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Noche Buena
The Noche Buena is very like in open celebrations. Family, friends, relatives or even unfamiliar people wishes “Maligayang Pasko” or Merry Christmas in each of everyone.
Food is in abundance, often served in buffet style. Among typical foods prepared in the Philippines during Christmas are: Lechon, barbecue, rice, adobo, pancit, leche flan, mango float, fruit salad, spaghetti, cakes, wines, fruits and the Ham.
Every family eats together every 12:00 in the midnight with fun. With that, the spirit of love and sharing raise. Philippine food are all gathered and prepared and will surely be the number one spot in the Christmas.
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Christmas parties – its more fun in the Philippines.
many offices and all Shcools organize Christmas parties. These are usually held during the second week of December, or right before schools and universities go on holiday. Common activities include Monito/Monita(Kris Kringle), musical or theatrical performances and parlor games. Food is provided either through potluck, or via a pool of contributions to buy food. Some have fireworks displays.
Most of the Filipinos are excited for celebrating Christmas party in different venues and motifs.
That is why Every December, Filipinos were all prepared for it. Christmas Parties is one of the
Filipino culture in celebrating for the Birth of Christ.
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Traditional Filipino way of Celebrating the Advent Season - Simbang Gabi (Misa de Gallo)
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n some parishes, the Simbang Gabi begins as early as three o’clock in the morning while anticipated Masses begin a day before at eight in the evening. Attendance at the nine Masses is meant to show the believer’s devotion to God as well as to heighten anticipation for the Nativity of Jesus. A popular belief is that upon the devotee’s completion of the nine Masses, God will grant any special wish he makes.
Traditionally, Christmas Day is ushered in by a novena of dawn Masses known as the Misa de Gallo (“Rooster’s Mass”) in Spanish and in Filipino as Simbang Gabi (literally, “Night Mass”). This series of Masses lasts from December 16 to 24, and is a very important tradition. The Simbang Gabi is practised mainly by Catholic and Aglipayan faithful, though some Evangelical Christians and other independent Protestant Churches have adapted this practise by holding similar early morning services.
After hearing Mass, Catholic families eat traditional Filipino holiday fare sold outside the church, either within the church precincts or during breakfast at home. Vendors offer many native delicacies, including bibingka (rice flour and egg-based cake, cooked using coal burners above and under); putò bumbóng (a purple, sticky rice delicacy steamed in bamboo tubes, buttered then sprinkled with brown sugar and shredded dried coconut meat). Drinks include coffee,salabát (a ginger tisane) and tsokoláte (thick Spanish-style hot chocolate).
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PANUNULUYAN
Christmas Day in The Philippines is primarily a family affair. The Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated on December 25 and is usually attended by the whole family. It is the main means of celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth for Catholics and Aglipayans.
The Misa de Aguinaldo is often celebrated between 10 pm and midnight, a schedule preferred by many Filipinos who stay up late on Christmas Eve for the night-long celebration of the Noche Buena.
Preferably in the morning, Filipinos typically visit members of the extended family, especially to pay respects to their elders. This custom of giving respect has been an age-old tradition in the Philippines called “Pagmamáno“, which is done by bringing the elder’s hand to one’s forehead, while saying the phrase Máno Pô (lit. “Hand, please”). The elder then blesses the person who has given their respect, and in return gives “Aguinaldo“, or money in the form of crisp, fresh-from-the-bank bills is given after the Pagmamano, mostly to younger children. Godparents are especially socially obligated to give presents or Aguinaldo to their godchildren.
A Christmas Lunch usually follows after the “Pagmamano“. The menu is heavily dependent upon the finances of the family, with richer families preparing grand feasts, while poorer families choose to cook simple yet special dishes. Some families choose to open presents on this day after the lunch.
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New Year’s Eve in the Philippines
On December 31, New Year’s Eve (“Bisperas ng Bagong Taon”), Filipino families gather for the Media Noche or midnight meal – a feast that is also supposed to symbolize their hopes for a prosperous New Year. In spite of the yearly ban on firecrackers, many Filipinos in the Philippines still see these as the traditional means to greet the New Year. The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only meant to celebrate the coming of the New Year but are also cast out malevolent spirits. Safer methods of merrymaking include banging on pots and pans and blowing on car horns. Folk beliefs also include encouraging children to jump at the stroke of midnight so that they would grow up tall, displaying circular fruit and wearing clothes with dots and other circular designs to symbolize money, eating twelve fruits at 12 midnight for good luck in the twelve months of the year, and opening windows and doors during the first day of the New Year to let in the good luck.
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Christmas Lanterns (Parol) – A Filipino Christmas Culture
Every Christmas season, Filipino homes and buildings are adorned with beautiful star-shaped lanterns, called paról (Sp. farol, meaning lantern or lamp-Merriam Webster – English English- Spanish Dictionary). These lanterns represent the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi, also known as the Three Kings (Tatlóng Harì in Tagalog). Parols are as beloved and iconic to Filipinos as Christmas trees are to Westerners.
The earliest parols were made from simple materials like bamboo, Japanese rice paper (known as “papél de Hapón“) or crêpe paper, and was lit by a candle or coconut oil-lamp for illumination. The present-day parol has endless possible shapes and forms and is made of a variety of materials.
The Giant Lantern Festival is an annual festival held in December (Saturday before Christmas Eve) in the City of San Fernando in the Philippines. The festival features a competition of giant lanterns. Because of the popularity of the festival, the city has been nicknamed the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”.
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Fun in the Philippines – Christmas Caroling
In the Philippines, children in small groups go from house to house singing Christmas carols, which they called pangangaroling. Makeshift instruments include tambourines made with tansans (aluminum bottle caps) strung on a piece of wire. With the traditional chant of “Namamasko po!“, these carolers wait expectantly for the homeowners to reward them with coins. Afterward, the carolers thank the generous homeowners by singing “Thank you, thank you, ang babait ninyo (you are so kind), thank you!”
More recently, caroling has become a fund-raising activity. Church choirs or youth groups spend weeks rehearsing Christmas carols then draw up a schedule of visits to wealthy patrons in their homes or even corporate offices (often coinciding with the office Christmas party). These are, in effect, mini Christmas concerts, with excellent performances amply rewarded with an envelope of cash or checks. The choirs then use the funds for goodwill projects. Unlike the traditional children’s caroling, the singers do not partake of the earnings, but rather donate their share to the group’s projects.

 For the People out there who are planning to Celebrate their Christmas
here in the Philippines, dont forget to try the historical Cultures and Tradition
that will make everyone enjoy. Remember? We, Filipinos welcomes everyone for us to enjoy and celebrate the Birth of Christ. The essence of Christmas here in the Philippines is not just the foods and the fun but the most important is the Spirit of Love, Sharing and Forgiving.
Have a Fun! WEEEEEEE. Celebrate Christmas, Celebrate!

 

KNOWING ABOUT FILIPINO CULTURES

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The Philippines is predominantly Christian nation on account of
300 years of Spanish Rule. It is estimated that 81% of the Population is Roman Catholic.
The Culture of the Philippines reflects the country’s complex history.

DANCE
Philippine folk dances include the Tinikling and Carinosa. In the southern region of Mindanao, Singkil is a popular dance showcasing the story of a prince and princess in the forest. Bamboo poles are arranged in a Tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these clashing poles.

PHILIPPINES SOCIETY
The locals of the Philippines are called Filipinos. Their primary ancestors are the Malays who came from the southeastern Asian country or what is now called Indonesia. Before the Europeans discovered the country, Filipinos have had connections with China that resulted to a mixed Chinese-Filipino descent. Spanish-Filipinos came out during the colonial period and Filipino-Americans added a few percentages as well during the American occupation. They are easily distinguished by their fairer color, taller stature and fairly formed nose structure. A few Arab and Indian blood added to the racial mixture of the Filinos during their trading years. Aetas- the aboriginal group of the Philippines has a small percentage remained in the composition of the country’s ethnic groups.

The Philippines is a combined society, both Singular and Plural in form. Singular as one nation, but it is plural in that it is fragmented geographically and culturally. The nation is divided between Christians, Muslims, and other religion-ethno-linguistic groups; between urban and rural people; between upland and lowland people; and between the rich and the poor. Although different in a lot ways, the Filipinos are very hospitable and give appropriate respect to anybody regardless of race, culture and belief.

Inside their mixed society, anyone who has not seen Filipinos will be surprised how everyone differs from each other. Their looks, their cultural practices and beliefs show a truly diverse blend of people and customs. Because of this inconsistent homogeneity of race, the Filipinos naturally adapt and get influenced easily. They embraced the spirituality of the Spanish during the colonial period and surpass it with the modernity of the Americans in the recent years. Inspite of these multifaceted customs and incongruous mixture of people, visitors, however, find Filipinos enriched with uniqueness and variants.

The Filipino Culture Awareness
Bayanihan
: the creation of association with neighbors and the helping attitude whenever one is in disastrous need. Oftentimes, the Bayanihan spirit in action can be seen when a bus gets a flat tire. The by standing or surrounding Filipinos would help the bus driver in whatever actions to get the bus back on going.
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Close Family Ties: Filipinos are well-known for the close family ties. The primary social welfare system for the Filipino is the family. Many filipinos live near their family for most of their lives, even as independent adults.
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Pakikisama: Pakikisama, or harmony, in English, involves getting along with others to preserve a harmonious relationship.
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Hiya: Hiya is shame and is a motivating factor behind behavior. It is a sense of social decency and compliant to public norms of behavior. Filipinos believe they must live up to the accepted standards of behavior and if they fail to do so they bring shame not only upon themselves, but also upon their family. An example might be a willingness to spend more than they can afford on a party rather than be shamed by their economic situation. If someone is publicly embarrassed, criticized, or does not live up to expectations, they feel shame and lose self-esteem.
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Utang na Loob: Utang na Loob, or Debt of Gratitude, is owed by one to a person who has helped him through the trials he had undergone. There is a local saying: ‘Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan’, meaning, ‘One who does not look back to where he started, will not get to where he is going’.
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Amor Propio: Concern for self image.
o Delicadeza: Sense of honor
o Palabra de Honor: “word of honor”

FOLK TRADITION AND BELIEFS
Before the coming of the Spaniards and the introducing of Roman Catholicism, the indigenous inhabitants were believer of animism, or the worship of nature. As in Roman Catholicism, their pre-Hispanic beliefs consisted of a hierarchy of gods, goddesses, and spirits which bear similarity to that of Roman Catholicism, which is why the latter has been accepted easily by the inhabitants. Bathala was the supreme God of the Tagalogs, symbolized by the araw, or sun. The supreme God of the Bikolanos was Gugurang. Other Tagalog Gods and Goddesses include the buwan or moon, tala or stars, and even objects, such as trees, shrubs, mountains, or rocks. The spirits consist of aswang (ghoul), tikbalang (a man having the head of a horse), kapre (a giant that is smoking tobacco), tiyanak ( vampire feeding on children’s blood), santelmo (fireball), dwende (dwarves and elves), ik-ik (witches), and a lot of engkanto (minor spirits) and diwata (fairies/nymphs). Aside from that, voodoo practices were practiced by the pre-colonial inhabitants, such as pangkukulam, or witchcraft. Beliefs such as usog (a child greeted by a stranger will get sick) and lihi (unusual craving for something during pregnancy) are also present. These beliefs were carried on up to the present generation of Filipinos, which has directed some foreign authors to describe them as ‘Pagan-Christians’.