How Christmas Is Celebrated In The Philippines
We’re days away from Christmas, and everyone’s out to shop and party already. Left and right, you’ll see stores going on super sale to give shoppers the best offers in the market, while traffic intensifies as more people come out to celebrate.
Streets lit with parol (lanterns) and trees designed with Christmas lights, here is what Christmas is about in the Philippines:
A time to celebration
The Philippines being made up of mostly Christians, Christmas has become a huge celebration. In every home, you will find glorious amounts of food on Christmas Eve. This is the time when families (which extends to the farthest of relatives) come together for Noche Buena, waiting for the clock to strike 12 to welcome the birth of Christ. With lumpia, ham, fruit salad, hot chocolate, and so much more on the table, families reunite to celebrate this once-in-a-year event.
A time to revisit one’s faith
More than just a celebration, Christmas is also the time Filipinos revisit their faith. Beginning December 16, many Filipinos head to church for Simbang Gabi (night mass) until Christmas Eve. This is a way for believers to show sacrifice and love as a sign of thanksgiving for the blessings they’ve received throughout the year. There’s also a belief that your wish will come true if you hear all nine evening masses. After the Simbang Gabi, vendors are out to sell you the local Christmas favorites, such as bibingka, puto bumbong, and hot chocolate. You’ll know it’s the Christmas season already when you finally see these being prepared on the streets.
A time for love
Christmas for Filipinos is definitely also the time for love. You’ll see this in airports, when overseas Filipinos come home for the holidays being greeted with hugs and kisses from their families. You’ll see this in malls when families shop together for gifts they will give their relatives and friends. You’ll see this over Noche Buena when food’s prepared with utmost care, as well as the special plates and utensils being used only because the occasion deserves the best. You’ll see this in family reunions when relatives who haven’t talked reunite and forgive each other for the wrongs they’ve done to one another throughout the year.
A time for giving
Above all, Christmas in the Philippines is a time for giving back. Because every Filipino deserves a merry Christmas, this is the time when organizations, even individuals, really go out of their way to give back to society through donations and charity work. Although such activities happen all year round, the goal this time around is to ensure every Filipino celebrates Christmas with the rest of the world. Because everyone deserves it.
It’s this time of the year when everyone’s out to cheer. Christmas in the Philippines goes beyond lights, trees, and shopping, which makes it all the more special for the Filipinos. It’s the time for gratefulness, for forgiveness, for sharing, and most importantly, for love. So go ahead and let go of the bad vibes. Enjoy the holiday, and have a Merry Christmas!