Christmas is a HUGE DEAL in the Phillippines - with formal Christmas celebrations starting on the 16th December, but the playing of carols in shops starting as early at September! Celebrations continue to the First Sunday in January when Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated.
Christmas customs in the Philippines are a mixture of Western and native Filipino traditions. People in the Philippines have Santa Claus, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, and the traditional carols that we are used to singing.
They also celebrate unique traditions such as the 'parol' which is a bamboo pole or frame with a star lantern on top. It's traditionally made from bamboo strips and colored paper and represents the star that guided the Three Wise Men. It is by far the most popular Christmas decoration in the Philippines.
Christmas Eve is very important in the Philippines, and families will sit down to have a huge feast, and often stay up all night and into Christmas Day! Families enjoy dishes like lechon (roasted pig), ham, fruit salad, rice cakes (bibingka and puto bumbong are traditional Christmas foods) and other sweets, steamed rice, and many different types of drinks.
Your challenge is to try cooking a traditional Filipino Christmas dish this Summer! Post a photo below, and share your experience making it. Did you like the taste? What did your friends and family think? And did you learn anything else about Christmas in another country?