25 Days of Blogmas 2018, Day 13

Blogger Spotlight: Meet Angeli

On the thirteenth day of Blogmas
my true love sent to me: 
Day 13: Meet Angeli
Day 12: Meet Javi
Day 11: Meet Girl on the Fly
Day 10: Meet Stephanie
Day 9: Meet Natasha
Day 8: Blogger Spotlight
Day 7: Never Ever
Day 6: New Years Resolutions
5 Favorite Things!!
Day 4: Stocking Stuffers
Day 3: Holiday Getaways
Day 2: All Things Advent
and a Posting Explaining to Thee

Ironically, I’ll be grabbing a plane to the Philippines in the coming days… partnering with Angeli from @my_beyoutiful  couldn’t have come at a better time!! Enjoy!

Christmas Culture: Filipino-American Holiday Traditions

This time of the year brings out all the good feels in me, as I’m sure it does in many people. The smells and the sounds, everything from all the holiday decorations, colorful lights, Christmas music, delicious holiday treats, cooler sweater weather, holiday parties, and family gatherings, brings such warmth and happiness to my heart. So it is with great pleasure that I’m able to share with you my first ever Blogmas post, courtesy of @PrayerPassports.

I have such fond memories of Christmas growing up, which is probably why it’s one of my favorite holidays. I’m Filipino and was born and raised in California. Days leading up to Christmas were filled with both Filipino and American customs.

Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations in the Philippines. It’s all about family, faith, festivities, and food…lots and lots of FOOD!!! I haven’t been to the Philippines during the Christmas season, however I hear that people start preparing as early as September and doesn’t end till January 9, the Feast of the Black Nazarene or Epiphany.

Though I haven’t experienced Christmas in the Philippines and it’s such a huge part of our culture, I learned and cherished the Christmas traditions of the Philippines through my family. 9 days before Christmas, (Roman Catholic) Filipinos practice a nine day devotional series called “Simbáng Gabi” which means Night Mass between December 16-24. This novena begins as early as 4am before the sun rises to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the last day of Simbáng Gabi, Christmas Eve, the mass is called Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass). After each mass, parishioners partake in traditional Filipino sweet treats such as various rice cakes called Bibinka, Suman, Puto, and Kutsinta sprinkled with coconut shavings (Mmmmm…). Another favorite rice dish served is Arroz Caldo, a rice porridge made with chicken, served hot, perfect for those early cold mornings.

Photo Credit: Remit2Home blog

Since Simbáng Gabi was held so early in the morning and both my parents worked (and I’d prefer to sleep in), I’ve only gone a handful of times. Instead, my family would celebrate Christmas Eve, called Nochebuena and attend midnight mass, called Misa de Aguinaldo or Misa de Gallo (the terms used interchangeably). Afterwards, we’d  go home and eat delicious Filipino foods consisting of noodles, rice, meats, and desserts. Food is an important part of the Filipino culture especially around special occasions such as Christmas.

Photo Credit: filipiknow.net

Music is also an important part of our culture. During Christmas time, some Filipinos go house to house of their family and friends singing a mixture of both Filipino and American Christmas Carols, spreading good cheer and will in exchange for a small donation that goes to the church or an organization of their choosing. In addition to a small donation, the carollers are fed and provided with delicious treats by the hosts.

An iconic Filipino Christmas decoration is the parol, a star shaped lantern which symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem which guided the 3 Kings to Jesus’ manger. Filipino homes are beautifully adorned with parols that can range from simple, classic star lanterns to the intricate and elaborately designed parol.

Photo Credit: Balay PH
Photo Credit: Mansfield Arts Center
Photo Credit: Jannella Tee at burpple.com

One of my fondest memories growing up was waking up Christmas morning to the sounds of little Michael Jackson singing, “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and to the smell of bacon cooking. My mom and dad would be awake way before me, preparing for the day’s festivities. My mom was an excellent cook and friends and family would pay her to bake special Filipino desserts called Bibinka, Kutsinta and Puto. She would make hundreds and hundreds of these desserts throughout the year, but during the Christmas season, people would call and order boxes and pans of these delicious bites.

I’d jump out of bed and run to the Christmas tree to see if Santa brought me what I asked for and open up all the gifts. We’d then get ready for the rest of the family to arrive for Christmas lunch. Family would start arriving with food and gifts in tow. There would be around 30 relatives. The table would be lined with food from end to end. Before eating everyone would gather around the table and we’d say a prayer blessing. We’d then eat all throughout the day and into the night.

We’d then pass out the gifts to all the children first. Another Filipino Christmas tradition is called Aguinaldo (Spanish for bonus), where the children receive gifts usually in the form of money, especially from the Godparents and Grandparents. We then would sing Christmas songs accompanied by someone playing the piano. There was usually always someone who knew how to play the piano. The party would last all night long into the early morning.

Photo Credit: Angeli McGovern

Although Christmas is this grand Holiday with all the lights and decorations, and gifts and presents, Christmas for Filipinos has a lot to do with their faith and their family traditions.

I hope to pass on the same traditions to my children and hope they’ll also gain the same appreciation for their Filipino-American Culture as I have for mine.

What are some of your Holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment, like, and share, if you enjoyed this post.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holidays!!!

Meet the girl behind the great story…..

Hey there! My name is Angeli and I have a blog called My BeYOUtiful Life.

It’s a Lifestyle blog that highlights my stories of family, travel, style & fashion, fitness, food, and anything and everything in between.

I’ve been told I have a knack at telling stories, so I thought why not share them with the world.

My goal is to help inspire working moms, travel enthusiasts, and anyone who’d like to gain more insight, knowledge, or tips on a little bit of everything.

One word to describe me and my blog is BeYOUtiful 🙂

Much love and appreciation to Grace @PrayerPassports for allowing me to be a part of her Blogmas post.  I’m very honored as this is my first time participating in any kind of Blogmas ever.

You can find me at:

Blog: https://mybeyoutifullife.blog

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/my_beyoutiful

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mybeyoutifullife/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mybeyoutifullife/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/mybeyoutifullife.blog

E-Mail: angeli@mybeyoutifullife.blog

Happy Holidays, Happy Blogmas!

Omgosh!! Are you ready to hop on a flight with me to the Philippines? I hope you enjoy walking in her shoes as much as I did! Leave me a comment or two, I love hearing from you!

(Pstt Don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss any of my Blogmas stories)

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  1. Thanks so much Grace for allowing me this opportunity to share my story. I’m so excited for you to experience the Philippines during this Holiday season. I can’t wait to hear all about it! You’ll have to share how many of the traditions above you were able to partake in. Enjoy my dear! Have a fun and safe trip! Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas!)!!!

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