Quantcast
Latest Stories

Offbeat family traditions

By

As much as it is the season for gifts and parties, Christmas is also the time for tradition. Apart from the usual potluck noche buena and program, there are other offbeat holiday traditions which our family enjoys.

We “gamble” on Christmas Eve. It’s simple betting, really, on the exact number of gifts under the tree. Since nearby relatives from my dad’s side of the family always spend Christmas Eve with us at our house in Quezon City, they bring along their gifts to pile together with our presents.

A few minutes past 12 midnight, while everyone digs into the noche buena spread, I distribute small strips of paper. Each strip/bet costs P10; one is allowed to bet as many times as he/she wants.

By the end of the meal, I collect the bets and separate them according to the numbers written on them. The total pot usually amounts to P500-P600.

We then gather in the living room around the tree. Our Santas (aka my dad, uncles, and male cousins) hand out the gifts one by one—they have to, so my tita can do a tally. Every 100 gifts, she lets us know the count, so we can keep track of our bets.

You would think that since we do this every year and have an idea of the number of guests at the party we can, more or less, calculate how many gifts will be distributed. But we like to keep things interesting, mixing in gifts we received from the office, or even the gifts we have yet to give to friends after Christmas. Besides, we always forget the previous year’s winning number, anyway.

At the end of the gift-giving, we wait eagerly for my tita to announce the final count. On the average, the total number amounts to 400-500. I go through the all the bets that are still in the running—whoever guesses the exact number, or has the closest bet to it, wins the whole pot. If there is more than one winner, then the money is split equally. (In my 25 years, I have only won once; luckily, I didn’t have to share the prize.)

Holiday dice

While that tradition includes everyone at the party, the other one is only for the kids—the apo who aren’t earning their own income yet. This is done after the gift-giving; it was started by my lolo and is now being continued by my dad’s sister (the same aunt who tallies the number of gifts).

The kids sit on the floor in a circle. One by one, they toss a dice. The number they roll is multiplied by 10; so, a five is equal to 50, which is equal to P50. Our tita hands out the money one by one as the kids take turns at rolling the dice. The game simply ends when there are no more bills to hand out.

These two traditions have been staples in our Christmas Eve celebration for as long as I can remember. There is one tradition, however, which we observe the whole year—the mañanita.

Whenever someone at home is celebrating his/her birthday, we make it a point to stay up until midnight, give that person gifts, and have a little cake and pansit and pizza and chicken. It was my dad’s eldest brother who started this tradition. After he passed away in 1992, the family still continued the practice.

Apparently there is a Spanish birthday song called Las Mañanitas. The word mañanita roughly translates to “early morning.”

If you think about it, the mañanita is a lot like the noche buena—and since there’s a birthday almost every month at home, it’s one tradition that helps keep the festive Christmas spirit alive in our family.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Christmas Eve , family traditions , Noche Buena , Paskong Pinoy-events



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Malaysia, Flight 370 relatives talk financial help
  • Celebrating Easter and creativity in New York
  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
    Marketplace