How old the German custom of philopena might be, no one knows.
It was probably brought to America in the early eighteenth century, but that is entirely a guess because the earliest written record is not until a century later.
The custom was that if, in the eating of almonds, hazelnuts, or other like nut, one were to find twin kernels within the shell, the contents were shared, a lady sharing with a gentleman, a gentleman with a lady.
The next time these two persons met, the one who was first to say, “Guten Morgen, Vielliebchen (Good morning, sweetheart),” would receive a present, perhaps previously agreed upon, from the other.
American youth, ignorant of German but almost catching the pronunciation, appreciated the custom, especially if the reward were a kiss, but corrupted the German Vielliebchen into the sound fillipeen. But because that was not a known word, it was often altered in print to philippine.
Both game and name have been varied, but the name is now usually written either philopena or fillipeen.