CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES 2014

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Have you ever tried celebrating Christmas in the Philippines? If you will try it this year, I bet that this is going to be your happiest and most remarkable Christmas season ever in your life time. Christmas in the Philippines is considered to be the most unique, most memorable and the world’s longest Christmas season. All Filipinos all around the world are so excited to go back to their homeland and spend the entire holidays with their loved ones. It is their most awaited celebration for the year.

When is Christmas Season in the Philippines 2014

Christmas Day will be on Thursday, 25th of December.

The Philippines is widely known for becoming the world’s longest Christmas season. The last four months in the year that ends with “ber” is already considered to be Christmas season. It extends further than 31st of December. It will only end after the Feast of three Kings in the 6th of January.

Also read about PHILIPPINES CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS and HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES and CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Lengthiest Christmas Season

The formal celebration according to the Roman Catholic tradition officially starts on the 16th of December in a very early morning of the first day of “Simbang Gabi” (Catholic mass that starts at 4:00 am.) and ends on the Feast of Three Kings in the 6th of January. Christmas day is celebrated at exactly 12:00 midnight of December 25 and enjoyed all throughout the entire day.

Christmas in the Philippines’ Unsurpassed Unique Customs

Christmas celebration in the Philippines is most profoundly influenced by the Spanish colony and moderately mixed with American colonizers. This customs and traditions have been preserved and has become a part of the rich culture of this nation.

People around the cities and towns are getting so excited seeing the colourful Christmas lights displayed in the streets and in houses, hearing the Christmas song over the radio played almost every day, houses decorated with wonderful gigantic lanterns, and the spectacles of other Christmas decorations along the streets. Everyone will feel that the spirit of Christmas is coming near.

For Filipinos, Christmas is the real spirit of giving, forgiveness, sharing and love for people even for their enemies. So they make the most out of it during the holidays through bonding, picnics, outings and reunions.

But really what made Christmas in the Philippines distinctive and exceptional among other countries? Here are some traditions.

Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo

  • Also known as “mass of the rooster” which originally established from a Catholic custom of gathering to celebrate and profess their faith in God. It begins in the early morning of 16th of December and ends at early midnight of 24th of December. This nine-day celebration before Christmas has already rooted in the hearts of every Filipino. Some believed that if you have completed your nine days of Simbang Gabi, you may request anything to God and He will surely give it to you. But even if it’s not true, lots of people are enjoying the atmosphere of this custom because it has largely affected their manner of celebrating Christmas.
  • “Simbang Gabi” is not through if there is no “Puto Bumbong” and “Bibingka,” a distinctively delightful and tasteful rice cake partnered with hot ginger tea called “salabat.”

Parol or Christmas Lantern

  • This decoration makes this holiday extra special because it simply radiates joy and happiness to the one who beholds its colourful and amazing designs. Throughout the years, making of lanterns and its designs evolved into its modern but classic approach. A lantern is commonly a star-shaped decoration made up of bamboo sticks and Japanese rice paper.
  • Modern parols have boundless possible forms and are made up of more variety of materials. Parol is a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi in looking for the baby Jesus who was born.
  • Some groups, schools and other institutions are organizing an annual Parol-making contest out of the recycled materials. While malls and department stores are constructing a giant version of parol.

Christmas Tree

  • Christmas tree is built and assembled to be displayed in the Sala or in the living room. Christmas is not complete without it. For some who cannot buy a readymade one, they are assembling their own out of craft materials and dried stem of trees and make it a form of art. Gifts are placed under the Christmas tree reserved for the “Big day”
  • Shopping malls and other landmarks are building and lighting their giant Christmas trees that draw much attention from people who will gaze upon it.

Noche Buena

  • It is one of the much awaited parts of Christmas season. It is a traditional Christmas Eve feast eaten after the last Misa de Gallo. Filipinos really well-thought-out of it as the core of the celebration so they make it really special and remarkable for every members of the family. They use their well-kept kitchen wares and utensils and they cook their best recipes. This is where reunions are also gathered. Just imagining the scenario will make you more excited for this day.

Christmas Bonus

  • All employed Filipinos are looking forward for Christmas time also because of a Christmas bonus to be given by their employers. It is a big treat that they are expecting from them so if they don’t receive it, it will be a huge dissatisfaction for them. Christmas gifts for families, friends, loved ones and god children will be coming out of this bonus. So it is important for them to have it.

Carolling

  • In the Philippines, Filipinos especially children form a group and will go from house to house singing Christmas carols with their improvised instruments or guitar. As long as they finished singing they excitedly await for the house owner to come out and give them a reward of cash or coins. Before they left the house, they will sing  a thank you song for them.
  • Some carollings done by groups of people use the proceeds for their Christmas party or for Gift-giving to less fortunate ones.

“Pamamasko” on Christmas Day

  • One of the famous reasons why kids and children are so excited for Christmas season is because of “Pamamasko.”On the early morning of Christmas Day which is December 25, Filipinos normally visit their extended families to pay respect to them. Children also visit their godfathers and show respect to them by taking their hands to their forehead and in return, godparents will give a blessing or a gift to these children. Normally cash gifts are given out that is why most children in Christmas day have plenty of money in their pockets.

“Monito-Monita” or Kris Kringles

  • This is an exceptional way of giving of gifts through exchange gifts especially done in Christmas parties. In some parties held in a company, they assign certain value or price of a gift they should prepare so that it is fair for everybody to receive as much value of the gift they will also give. Sounds outrageous but fun for some.

Christmas in the Philippines 2015

Christmas Day will be on Friday, 25th of December.

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