It is without a doubt that Filipinos are known to be one of the nationalities to celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world! Yeap! Did you know that we do not only celebrate Christmas on December 25th but we actually start as early as September? It’s quite amazing actually and crazy if I may add, but crazy good.
In my experience, I would usually hear Christmas songs from Filipino households and neighbors every September 1st. And I am not exaggerating here but most families put up their Christmas trees and decors as early as September. This is why I personally think that the best Christmas in the world is in the Philippines.
Our country may not have the white Christmas like any other countries because we obviously don’t have snow, but I guarantee that we have the best Christmas spirit in the world!
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION LASTS FOR ALMOST 5 MONTHS
You can never go wrong with “Christmas in the Philippines”. And as a Pinoy, it has been a custom tradition to start celebrating Christmas season starting from BER-months — months from September to December, until January 9th of the following year. As a result, Filipinos indeed celebrate the longest Christmas Season in the world!
Moreover, Christmas season remains celebrated mainly on the month of December. But Filipinos start to decorate their houses as early as September.
WHY DO FILIPINOS HAVE A LONG CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SEASON?
The answer is simple. Filipinos love to celebrate holidays and Christmas is a very special holiday that gathers a family together. Filipino households likes it when they celebrate holidays together as a family. For us, this kind of occasions brings us joy and happiness and most especially connects us with our loved ones. Hence, why we have long Christmas season in the Philippines.
Read more about how Filipino characteristics depicts joy and happiness here.
HOW IS CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, Philippines may not have a white Christmas like other countries but we have a very the best Christmas spirit in the world. And by spirit, I mean all the traditions like lucky colors, Christmas parols and lights, gift-giving, loud and cheerful Christmas songs, noche buena, kids singing Christmas carols and simbang gabi.
In addition to that, the families getting together once a year to celebrate this holiday is very significant to each household. As much as possible, we make it to a point to get all our family members together before December 25th.
As part of a Filipino tradition, it is only customary to give gifts. But aside from gift-giving, below are some of the most common things to observe during the holidays here in the Philippines..
Colorful Christmas Parols
Christmas parols are an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern from the Philippines. It is traditionally made out of bamboo and paper and comes in various sizes and shapes.
We see most of these parols hanging outside houses, churches and other buildings like malls or hospitals, etc. It is a tradition to hang a parol outside each Filipino household as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem that guided The Three Kings followed to the manger of baby Jesus.
Kids Singing Christmas Carols or “Caroling”
Christmas carols or “caroling” in the Philippines are serenades that are mostly done by kids and Church choirs. Caroling in the Philippines is a signal that Christmas is just around the corner.
Whenever Christmas is approaching, kids go to their neighborhood to serenade each house with Christmas songs like Jingle Bells or Silent Night. Of course, some favorite traditional Christmas songs like Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit and Pasko Nanaman will never go out of place. Kids will usually sing these carols with handmade musical instruments from recycled materials.
Who can forget the iconic puto bumbong and bibingka sold outside the churches after the simbang gabi?
Simbang Gabi is a devotional nine-day series of Masses practiced by Filipino Catholics and Aglipayans in the Philippines in anticipation of Christmas. This is similar to the nine-day series of dawn Masses leading to Christmas Eve practiced in Puerto Rico called Misa de Aguinaldo.
Moreover, whenever Filipinos talk about Simbang Gabi, they will never forget to mention about the iconic and most delicious puto bumbong and bibingka sold outside the Churches. These are famous rice meal or kakanin in the Philippines.
Noche Buena or Christmas Eve
The Noche Buena is celebrated on Christmas Eve or December 24th. This is where families get together after going to the Church and celebrate the night with their families while feasting. Of course, a Filipino Noche Buena consists of lechon baboy, lumpia, salad, Filipino style spaghetti and chicken.
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