The Philippines is said to be the country with the longest Christmas celebration. Officially it begins December 16 and ends on January 09. But little do they know, the moment SeptemBER hits the calendar they begin to greet each other a Merry Christmas. The radio station play a Christmas song for August 31 midnight, before they sign off, and continues to do so until the season ends. The department stores and other Christmas craft businesses begin to make and sell decorations. The earlier they sell the more purchases they get.
Here’s a list of the most common Christmas decorations found in most home or buildings. Christmas tree is the obvious main decoration.
Parol/Lantern – No matter how simple or complicated a Parol design is, remember the STAR should be remarkable. It symbolizes the shining star that led the 3 wise men to the manger where Jesus was. Belen – The manger itself. Some households/buildings have this with small figurines.
Wreath – is a Christmas garland usually hanged on doors or poles of a building. Vines/Flowers/Balls/Stockings/Candy Canes – these are just anging everywhere. Usually colorful and shiny metallic colours.
Listed below are the notable events and practices during Christmas season here in the Philippines Simbang Gabi/Misa De Gallo/Night Mass/Rooster’s Mass- the name describes how early the mass is. It would be at 3 am of December 16 or 8 pm of December 15. Whichever you begin attending to, try your best to complete the 9 masses. Devoted Catholics believed that the wish of church-goers will be granted when they are able to complete. Christmas Eve/Noche Buena – is the 24th of December. As some other countries are fond of celebrating this on street parties along with friends, Filipinos choose to spend this feast with the family and even extended families. Yes, usually even married children would go back to their hometowns along with their kids. Isn’t it fun with so much kid around?
Panunuluyan – in English it means “stay” because it is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s journey to find a place and eventually for Mary to give birth. This is accompanied by songs and with scenes of requesting for a room, the cruelty of house owners and the kindness of a man to offer the only available room in the place- the manger. Caroling – This officially begins Dec. 16 and ends Jan. 06.
Everyone has a team of their own.
Kids, Teens, Oldies: some are on contemporary choir, some are more modern but whatever their style is, they sure are expressing their wishing of Christmas and New Year prosperity through songs. In exchange of this, a household/office would usually give cash. But some household give candies for kids. Some are on acapellas while some have instruments with them.
For kids, they usually flat a soft drink crowns inserted on a copper wire and used as improvised tambourine. Daytime and nighttime, you’d see carolers with every gimmick possible to entertain people. Last December, teenage girls caroled at our office on a medley violin playing the Gangnam Style in between their carol. Just so cool! Christmas Day itself! I love Holidays where there’s nothing to worry about work and school!
This is a big feast gathering! Lots of food, family members, friends and too much togetherness. Gift Giving/Kris Kringle/Monito Monita – Especially the parents, grandparents and godparents are well remembered during Christmas season. Let’s just not forget to be thankful for the gifts but give thanks to the Giver
New Year’s Eve & New Year itself –
This is the beginning of another year. Most people say don’t dwell of the bad things that happened to you the previous year. Grab what is set for you this New Year. Usually, families here would go on a beach or swimming pools on January 1. 3 Kings – Jan. 06 and is said to be the end of Philippines’ Christmas season. After these, we can then begin to keep our Christmas decorations.