Thursday, November 23, 2006

In My Country the Days We Celebrate Are...Philippines

The Philippines is known as the country with the LONGEST Christmas Season! Ever heard of Christmas starting in September? Have you ever wanted to start singing Christmas songs as early as September 1? Are your Christmas gift lists ready and complete as soon as All-Souls-Day is over and done with? Well, if you answered YES to any of those questions, you're better off celebrating Christmas in sunny tropical Philippines!

Here, Christmas carols start to be played early morning of September 1. Before Halloween is even over, the malls are in such a rush to display Christmas ornaments that they will allow both Halloween and Christmas glitz to be displayed side by side on a rack.

Classis Filipino songs like Pasko na Sinta Ko, a song that depicts longing for a love that is way on Christmas, begins to be hummed by children and adults alike. In the Philippines, Christmas is for Family, and for Filipinos, Family means uncles and aunts, great0aunts, grandmothers, neices, nephews, inaanaks (god-children), barkadas (cliques), and whoever else is close to the Filipino heart.

For the rest of the BER months (September, October, November...) parols shaped into stars, wreaths, Christmas trees, and other Christmas symbols light up the streets of the cosmopolitan cities like Makati, Manila, and other surrounding areas. Houses of even the most-decrepit and less fortunate are strung with delicate Christmas lights, and children light up sparklers whenever they can.

For the Catholics, which most Filipinos are, they enjoy the puto-bumbong (purple rice cakes) hot from their afternoon and evening church services, and bibingka (another type of rice cake).

Tiangges (stalls) sprouot up everywhere there is space to sell an assortment of wares: clothes, shoes, toys, candies, anything and everything that can be bought or given this Christmas season.

What I like most in the Filipino Christmas is the Spirit. From being one of the top economic Asian countries 50 years ago, we have slumped to being one of the last, and sadly so. Yes, the unemployed, working class and even middle class Filipinos are all suffering the effects of our economy, and yet, come Christmas time, we can always share a smile.

No matter if your Noche Buena (what we call dinner on the evening of December 24th) consists of choice ham, a selection fo fruits, lechon (roast pig) and pancit (asian noodles) or just simple spaghetti (made with hotdogs and ketchup) with bread, we Filipinos understand the essence of Family at this time.

Christmas for us is celebrating closeness, warmth, cheer, belonging. We celebrate Christmas because we are alive, and of course, because in spite of all the hardships, we know that at Christmas, Christ was born.

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)


Blogger Sean Carter said...

It was great to know about the early Christmas traditions in Philippines. It was a lovely post. If you are looking out for some cool and innovative ideas you can jus dig into my Holiday Blog....

8:05 AM  
Blogger Jock said...

Shing, that was a great debut!


10:21 AM  
Blogger Rebelde said...

And I thought we in Venezuela couldn't wait until Xmas when I started listening to Christmas songs last week.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Shing said...

Sean, thanks. I'm glad you liked my post. Wishing you a great Christmas Season! ;)

Jock, it's great to be a part of the project, thanks. What made you think this up?

rebelde, am glad I was able to assuade your Christmas-song-singing apprehensions. I suggest you try singing it all-year through, haha.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Jock said...


I had this idea of one "thing" with just one person from each country since 2002, but I didnt know what to do.
SO this year the idea of a blog came! And here we are. :)

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I included this link in my Christmas Blogs at:

6:52 PM  

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