Paskong Pinoy is one of the world's longest running Christmas celebrations, usually beginning as early as the arrival of the "-ber" months (September, October, and so on). Filipinos from all over spend this entire season with enormously rich yuletide traditions of merry-making observed up to the present day.
The word Pasko is derived from the Spanish "Pascua de Natividad", which literally means "Easter of the Nativity." However the word "pascua" is associated with "solemnity" or "celebration" for the Spanish, and used for other religious feasts. Historical records show that even before Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1521, an Italian Franciscan friar named Odoric de Perdenon and his colleagues had already landed on the shores of Pangasinan (formerly called “Thalma-sin”). Their arrival marked the country's first Christmas Mass as de Perdenone celebrated a Natale Mass with a group of native folk on the 25th of December. It was only later in 1565, during Miguel Lopez de Legaspi's rule, when the first official celebration of the Feast of the Nativity happened.
However, even before Spanish colonizers came to the country, the natives had long been practicing thanksgiving rituals in the early mornings before working in the fields. Thus, Filipinos' Christmas traditions at present have their roots in this practice.
Eastern and Western influences
The yuletide celebration in the Philippines exemplifies the country's culturally diverse traditions. It is a blend of cultures, traditions and customs, cherished by both folk and Christian beliefs.
Paskong Pinoy is marked by rich Hispanic-influenced traditions such as the Belen, Misa de Gallo, and parol. Through the years of cross-cultural interactions, the Europeans and Americans brought the traditional chestnut roasting and white Christmas dreams of Filipinos. They introduced Saint Nicholas, carols, and Christmas cards. They brought Christmas trees and holly inside Filipino houses. Other significant practices observed during the Christmas season have been greatly influenced by Asian countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. They made their mark with exotic cuisine, ethnic dances, fluvial parades, torch-lighting processions, oriental games, and firecrackers.
- Misa de Gallo
- Noche Buena
- Christmas Superstitions
- Giant Lantern Festival
- Paskong Pinoy at Filipino Heritage.com
- Paskong Pilipino at SEAsite
- Christmas: A National Fiesta at SEAsite
- Pascua at
- Alejandro, Reynaldo and Maria Chorengel. Pasko: The Philippine Christmas. Philippines: National Bookstore, Inc. and Anvil Publishing, Inc., 1998.