Christmas: the longest festivity in the Philippines

Christmas (known as Pasko) is considered by Filipinos as the longest festivity celebration in the Philippines. As early part of October, Christmas songs are over the radio, shopping malls and major streets in the city centres are already decorated with colourful dancing lights. Every Filipino home embraces the season of giving by having a Christmas tree that dominates the living room and lanterns hanging on the windows.

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As a Filipino tradition, there are significant events happening during the season that are unique (in some way) compare to other Asian countries. Aside from the office and beach parties, exchange gifts, and shopping abroad, Filipinos will not miss to attend the early morning masses (simbang gabi) which start nine days before the Christmas day. This is also the time when young and old start their house-to-house caroling to earn extra money from generous hosts.  After the mass, everyone is ready to buy the native hot delicacies from vendors lining-up in front of the church/chapel. On the Christmas Eve itself, aside from having the midnight dinner (noche buena), majority of the family members are attending the midnight mass (misa de gallo); and for children there is an excitement after the mass to queue and have the chance to kiss the new-born Jesus (statue) lying in the manger. Finally, Christmas day is the big celebration where dining tables are full of local food, drinks, and sweets, not to mention the children outside the doors waiting for their turns to get their Christmas presence (aguinaldo) from their grand/god parents.

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Not the least, 25 December is the start for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival – bringing selected best Filipino films nationwide which provides another venue for entertainment until the first week of January. No foreign movies will be shown in all cinemas/theatres during the festival. The giant Christmas lantern competition and parade are also initiated by major shopping centres in the country which quite popular for tourists and visitors. Christmas is not complete without fireworks on the New Year’s Eve. To purchase fireworks is hassle-free and inexpensive in the country which is a delight for everyone to celebrate the New Year with a big bang! To reduce the domestic problems caused by fireworks, the Philippine government initiated a firework extravaganza – showcasing 30-minutes of fireworks display in Manila Bay (Metro Manila) where everyone is free to attend and to enjoy the spectacular dancing lights and music. This is also a successful endeavor to other local government units around the 7,107 islands of the country in minimizing fatalities from fireworks-related accidents.

Filipinos welcome the Christmas spirit with full of hope and they will always wish that the New Year brings peace and democracy despite the current economic, social and political crises in the country.

(Note: My Xmas tree is quite different from the traditional trees. I decorated with notes/bills from the Philippines, US, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Iran, China and Thailand – bringing financial prosperity in the years to come!)

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~ by reymos on December 5, 2007.

2 Responses to “Christmas: the longest festivity in the Philippines”

  1. It was good to meet you.
    You can email me : themadatter@gmail.com

    Regards
    Jamie

  2. Hi Reymos, that was very nice of you to drop by my website. I appreciate all your comments. Would love to see more of London, and visit Scotland and N. Ireland but I didn’t have time and enough resources when I was there. I hope to see those places soon. Anyway, I’m enlisting you in my network so I get to read more about your travels.

    Hope you have the best Christmas this year. God bless 🙂

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