Christmas in the Philippines

It’s Not This Time of Year Without… This one of the most awaited in the holiday season, Christmas. People said that we, Filipinos, belong to the countries which celebrate the longest Christmas season. Songs, decorations and the feeling of it usually starts during the so called ‘-BER months’ (SempterBER, OctoBER, NovermBER, DecemBER) to us and ends until January. Everyone gets excited and started counting off days. This is a traditional behavior for us since we are mostly Christians and this event really is significant to our lives. One thing that best describes the kind of Christmas celebration in the Philippines is that it is ‘Powerful’, not literal of its meaning. There is power in it for us because no matter what situation we are in, when this day comes, we will celebrate it with all our heart together with our love ones. Christmas in the Philippines is full of color, joy, love, kindness, faith, hope, and life, it is amazingly beautiful.philippines_events_christmas

There are unique and amazing traditions that we always do during this season. First is that, the “Misa de Gallo” or the official observance by the Church which starts on 16th of December to the Christmas eve itself. We usually went to Church for our devotion to God and the foremost anticipation of Christ’s birth. There is also a folk belief that God grants the special wishes of those devotee who hears all the nine masses. Outside churches you will usually see vendors of “kakanin” or native delicacies.

The next one is celebrated with the mass on the 24th, the “Bisperas ng Pasko” or Christmas eve. This part is one of the most significant one where in we do the “Noche Buena” feast and dine together with our families. On the 25th, it’s also a tradition that we go visit our other relatives like grandparents, godparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins to their houses and “magmano” or the act of kissing their hands. They usually give the children gifts or money as “Aguinaldo”. Some also prepare feasts on this day because this is also a way of reuniting with the other members of the family.

Lastly, the decorations that we put up outside our houses, churches and parks. The common ones are the “Parol” and “Belen”. Parols are lanterns which are usually star-shaped but there are also different shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. While the Belen is a traditional symbol of the birth of Christ. It is a tableau where there is the picture of infant Jesus surrounded by Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the shepherds, their flock, the Magi, some stable animals and an Angel and/or a Star.

The thought of Christmas is giving praise to our Lord and love to others. As the song says “Give love on Christmas day..”