Noche Buena

Main Piece:


The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as BDV. I am marked as DG.


BDV: Ok, so instead of, like, doing the whole ‘opening presents on Christmas day morning’ sort of thing, I guess its Pilipino tradition to sort of, um, so you go to mass the night before and it’s called Noche Buena-I don’t know if the mass is but I think the tradition itself is, the entire tradition is-and then you have, before mass you go to dinner as a family and then church, because most Filipino’s are Catholic….um, and after that is when you come home and open presents and it’s like 2:00 AM of the next morning rather than, like, ‘Christmas Day, Christmas Day’. And then, like, all the kids go out into the street and play with their presents in the middle of the night. It’s kind of odd…I’m not sure if anyone, other cultures do it but, yeah.


DG: Who did you learn this from, your parents?


BDV: Mmhmm, my mom told me. ‘Cause, originally, like, since my dad is third generation, we are pretty Americanized so we usually wait ‘til the next morning, but ever since my dad left my family, and my mom has been reverting back to old culture. So now starting this year we’ve started doing this whole ‘Noche Buena’ thing.




The conversation was recorded while sitting outside of a coffee shop at the University of Southern California. The tradition itself was held within a church, and then at home, every Christmas season.




The student was born and raised in Northern California. She is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. She is the fourth generation to grow up in America, but is Filipino. She speaks several languages, with English being her native language.




I found this piece incredibly interesting because it’s similar to one that I’ve heard from my half-Swedish father, where they open the presents on Christmas Eve. However, they don’t go to mass first (at least in his version). The reason it was so interesting was because it showed me the different sorts of oicotypes for this item-different religions and cultures have the same tradition. Additionally, I found it interesting that the family of the interviewee really only started doing this tradition after a split in the family-this shows how folklore ties us back to our roots in a time we might need them.