Archive for Filipino traditions

Chinese New Year in the Philippines

Did you know that the Chinese have been in the Philippines even before the Spaniards came in the 16th century? Chinese Filipinos make up only one to two percent of the Filipino population but those numbers don’t match their influence on the country’s history and culture.

Chinese Filipinos used to be referred to as INTSIK in Tagalog, but that word has sort of become unpopular due to negative connotations that were attached to it. The politically correct term these days is TSINOY (sometimes spelled Chinoy).

With the Lunar New Year being on Monday (January 26, 2009), I decided to make a page on how the holiday is celebrated by the Chinese community in the Philippines.

Traditions during the Chinese New Year in the Philippines

The Chinese-Filipino greeting for the New Year: Kiong Hee Huat Tsai — that’s how Tsinoys pronounce 恭喜發財 (Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin; Gong Hei Fat Choi in Cantonese).

Happy New Year! 恭喜發財,紅包拿來 😉


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Happy Three Kings!

A funny greeting, no?

In the Philippines, January 6 is called Araw ng Tatlong Hari (Day of the Three Kings), after the magi or wise men who visited the Christ child bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In Spanish-speaking parts of the world, the three kings are known as Los Reyes Magos de Oriente or Los Tres Reyes Magos. Also known as the Feast of Epiphany, this day marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas. However, in the United States and in English-speaking Christian countries, Epiphany is usually celebrated on the first Sunday of January, which this year was January 4.

Filipinos also recognize this day as Pasko ng Matatanda (Christmas of the Elderly), a day on which to honor senior citizens.

Maligayang Araw ng Tatlong Hari! Happy Three Kings’ Day!


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Tagalog Greetings for the New Year

My page on Tagalog greetings to use on Christmas gifts and cards was such a hit that I decided to do the same for the new year! So if you want to warm the hearts of your Filipino friends with a message in their language, here are a few

Tagalog greetings for the New Year

They’re Tagalog translations I did of English New Year’s greetings I came across on the web. They’re a mouthful. I’d recommend using the longer greetings on cards and notes, and the shorter phrases for maybe a toast on New Year’s Eve. I even included one romantic phrase promising unchanging love in the New Year and beyond. 😉

The least you have to know is how to say “Happy New Year” in Tagalog. The traditional Filipino new year’s greeting is Manigong Bagong Taon, which literally means A Prosperous New Year. Listen to the pronunciation:

How to Say “Happy New Year” in Tagalog

Also, I worked hard on this page outlining Filipino Customs on New Year’s Eve. Hope you like it!

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Simbang Gabi: Filipino Christmas Tradition

Catholic Filipinos begin a novena (a series of nine masses) on December 16th. The masses are part of the Christmas tradition of Simbang Gabi, a Tagalog phrase that literally means “Night Worship.”

Filipinos go to church before dawn and afterward have breakfast with family or friends. A traditional drink during this season is a warm ginger tea called salabat and a traditional treat is a flat but thick yellow rice cake called bibingka.

The Tagalog word for “Christmas” is Pasko. Want to learn more about Filipino Christmas traditions?

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