Published 6:00 PM, November 28, 2017
Updated 6:00 PM, November 28, 2017
MANILA, Philippines – We love singing to Regine Velasquez songs in the karaoke and dancing to 80s hits. At weddings, we faithfully observe elaborate reception rituals like the slicing of the cake, the toast, and the releasing of doves. A Pinoy celebration is never complete without the classic Filipino dishes like the sweet and meaty spaghetti and menudo.
These moments emphasize how Filipinos share a taste for the classics and an undying loyalty to tradition. Our tried-and-tested favorites take center stage during special occasions – with Christmas being the most special of them all.
“Filipinos have always been into celebrations. Even our ancestors. And Christmas is the biggest and most awaited event of the year,” said Bro. Clifford Sorita, sociologist.
Filipino Christmas is a celebration of Pinoy classics made more special by the season.
We decorate our houses with bright lights and classic capiz lanterns. We clear an area in the living room to put up a Christmas tree. To top it all, we sometimes even change our throw pillowcases and tablecloths to match the holiday season.
In church, one of the altars is transformed into an elaborate Belen. The Christmas Eve mass features special performances and presentations, there’s more than one priest, and the lectors and commentators wear barong and Filipiniana.
Most of us probably give more gifts during Christmas than during birthdays or wedding anniversaries. Based on a study conducted by the Rappler Nerve Team, shopping is heaviest in December. And as godparents, we usually reserve the biggest (and most expensive) gifts to our godchildren for Christmas.
Doing good is also extra special during the holidays. Many people are doing large-scale good deeds like giving groceries or packed lunches to the homeless, raising funds for an orphanage, or collecting used toys and clothes, and donating them to charities.
At home, Christmas meals are usually the only times we use the actual dining table. Our mom’s precious china set is also brought out of the cabinets where it has been sitting for the whole year.
And the most special of all during Christmas is the sumptuous classic feast prepared by the collective effort of all the family members. This is where cooking lessons and the passing of family recipes happen, as kids help to peel the potatoes and slice the carrots.
According to Bro. Sorita, Filipinos are fond of events where we can eat and get together over food. And Christmas provides the longest and most convenient opportunity for relatives abroad to go back home, for kids who are busy with school and adults who are occupied with work to take a break and spend time with the family.
The best part of it all? The Noche Buena – a spread of all the classic familiar food our moms, grandmas, and titas used to cook like menudo and spaghetti but in their best versions – mushrooms and more cheese are added to the Christmas meaty spaghetti while the Christmas menudo has raisins, green peas, and chorizo. But they know that more than the additional ingredients, the secret is in the sauce. And Knorr Pork Cubes help turn these into the classic and flavorful dishes we all know as kids.
All these classic Filipino Christmas food are made more special because the dishes were prepared with the help of the family and are enjoyed in the company of one another.
How about you? What classic dish are you cooking this Christmas? – Rappler.com