|Palawan Island, Philippines|
Christmas Eve is very important, and many people stay awake all night. Christians go to church to hear the last simbang gabi (Christmas Eve mass). After the service they eat a midnight feast called Noche Buena. This sounds quite a bit like Spanish, and there are actually quite a few Spanish words used in Tagalog. This is because for many years Spain ruled the Philippines, so parts of the Spanish language are still used.
The Noche Buena is a big, open house celebration with family, friends, and neighbors dropping to wish everyone Maligayang Pasko. They eat foods like lechon (roasted pig), ham, fruit salad, steamed rice and sweets. They also drink salabat, a ginger tea, and eat bibingka, a traditional treat that is a thick yellow rice cake.
*In the Philippines, people replace the words, "Happy Birthday" with Maligayang Pasko and sing it to the tune of the traditional happy birthday song.
*On Christmas Eve, people act out Joseph and Mary's search for a place to stay. It's called panunuluyan, and it's similar to the Mexican posadas.
Make your own parol!
Parols are beautiful star decorations that light up, and they're seen in many Filipino houses or stores as part of their Christmas decorations. They're usually big and bright, but here are steps for a smaller, simpler one.
*Popsicle sticks or cardboard
*Colored tissue paper
1. Glue your popsicle sticks together in the shape of a typical star.
2. Now add your tissue paper. You can either make it all the same color, or you can make every part of the star a different color. Glue the tissue paper in place however you wish it to look. Now you can hang it on your tree, above your fireplace, or by a window.
All of the above information has been taken from the Wycliffe-created characters, Kate and Mack. To sign up for more children's activities or find out about the book these characters feature in (Around the World with Kate and Mack), click on this link: http://www2.wycliffe.org/a-z.