Monito-Monita

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

Gift giving is vey common during the season. And speaking of gifts, Filipinos takes an another adaptation of Secret Santa into a fun-filled practice called “Monito Monita” or Kris Kringle. 

This is a typical template of how it is usually done:

  • Form a group from your class, family, neighborhood or office
  • Write down your name in a small piece of paper and place it in a bowl or a box.
  • Take turns in picking a piece of paper from the box. Never reveal your “Monito” or “Monita” until the last day of your Christmas party. For those who picked their own name, you can return your name in the box and pick another one.
  • Decide on the schedule of your Monito Monita. You can make it on a daily basis, weekly basis or every other day.
  • For daily or weekly Monito Monita, gifts usually given are at around 5 pesos to 50 pesos.
  • The last Monito Monita is reserved for more expensive gifts.
  • Choose a weekly theme for your exchange gift. Themes makes your monito monita exciting.
  • Arrange where you would leave and pick up your Monito Monita gifts. The most logical suggestion is under your office’s or classroom’s Christmas Tree.

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Parols

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

One unique Filipino Christmas decoration is the parol. Parol or also known as Philippine lantern is traditionally made from colorful papers, bamboo sticks, and shaped like a five-pointed star.

In the early 1900s, these lanterns were originally designed to help villagers find their way to chapels and churches to pray. Today, these lanterns are used to further enhance the spirit of Christmas. Putting up parols in homes, schools, establishments, offices, and schools is a common Filipino tradition.

Nowadays, Filipinos parol makers used new and recycled materials to make parols, like plastic glasses, candy wrappers, soft drink straws, recycled papers and shells. The present day parol come in different shapes and sizes and not necessarily star- shaped:  it can be round, rectangular or even square. It could also be designed like a diorama with the Nativity on it.

Indeed, the parol represents the Filipino innovation, creativity and it is the greatest expression of Christmas spirit.

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Simbang Gabi

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

A very unique practice of Filipinos during the Christmas Season is the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo. It is a tradition originated in the early Spanish colonial period as a practical compromise for Filipino farmers who began working before sunrise, to avoid working in the fields under the heat of the sun. Simbang gabi is a nine-day series of masses to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. The daily mass starts from December 16 to Christmas eve. Filipinos wake up before the crack down to attend the mass in hopes of having a granted wish once they complete the nine days.

Completing the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo is in almost everyone’s bucket list. It is believed that a wish can be granted after the series is completed.

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