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Philippines: Longest Christmas season in the world

Hubpages explains how Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines:

“In this archipelago of 7,107 islands, the celebration of Christmas season begins on the 16th of December and ends on the first Sunday of January which is the Feast of the Epiphany (The Three Kings). It is quite different from the other countries of the world. Christmas is the longest of the Philippine festivities stretching for over three weeks. This makes the Filipino Christmas celebration one of the longest Christmas season in the world. A rich tradition which dates back to the Spanish period.”

But for many Filipinos, the Christmas season begins on September. Tutubi Travel writes:

“Christmas celebration in the Philippines is reputedly the longest in the world when, come the first day of September, (when the “ber” months of the calendar starts), some radio stations start playing Christmas carols. This will continue until a few days before November when Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day triumvirate will rule but immediately revert to Christmas songs.

Manila Christmas
Baywalk – Manila (Christmas) From the wanderer2007‘s Flickr Page

The Silver Lining of my Cloud says Christmas in the Philippines ends on February:

“Seems like Filipinos really love festivities! Christmas fever starts as soon as the month with “ber” comes (September) and ends until Valentines Day. It really is a long stretch.”

Hubpages blogs about the various Filipino Christmas symbols and traditions like the Parol or Christmas lantern, Monito Monita (Kris Kringle or exchange gifts), Dawn Masses or Simbang Gabi and Christmas caroling. Echoes of Life uploads the lyrics of the most famous carol song in the Philippines

Teacher Sol misses Christmas in the Philippines, especially the caroling.

“Our Christmas in my country is not complete without music, and the season is celebrated by Filipinos through caroling. In every neighborhood, a group of kids would form together as amateur carolers and visit houses every night. Rae would gladly give them candies or as reward for singing Christmas songs. They even sang out of tune but that was ok. They were creative in using tin cans, plastic containers, and bamboos as their musical instruments. Now I miss the pleasing noise that these carolers made!”

Filipinocultured suggests ten ways to celebrate Christmas in the Philippines. Ajay’s Writings on the Wall and This Garden of Eden have fond memories of Filipino Christmas traditions. A Catholic Bishop writing in his blog, Viewpoints, emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas.

The Fickle Minded writes what other overseas Filipinos are feeling these days:

“I suddenly miss Christmas in the Philippines. I miss the colorful and beautiful decorations and Christmas lights. I miss Christmas parties and exchange gifts. I miss Christmas shopping and carefully choosing each gift for my friends and loved-ones. I miss personally wrapping my gifts and writing messages on the gift cards. Most of all, I miss spending Christmas with my family. It's been years since the last time my family celebrated Christmas together.”

Baratillo @ Cubao on traffic during Christmas time:

Christmas in the Philippines must be the worst time to drive or travel. Combine the volume of commuters traveling, an increase in disposable income, the mall owners predatory instinct working on over drive, and the war between politicians on who says what cannot and cannot be done on the road … and you get quite stressed if not downright mean spirited. Appointments are missed and friends cannot go to parties because of traffic jams. And drivers lose money and patience as they try parking lots that increase their fare two or even three fold. There is a special place in hell for people who decide to increase parking fees during the Christmas season or people who play juvenile games over traffic laws.

Atomic Girl muses on Christmas attitudes:

“I honestly do not believe in the philosophy that you have to be extra kind or extra gracious or extra loving during special occasions like Christmas. I mean, really. If you really wanted to do something, why wait for the season just to do it? Apologies to those who believe in it but I just don't.”

No Way I’m Gonna Blog About That has some thoughts on the Christmas spirit:

“For some reason, I'm suspecting that Christmas spirit is probably inversely proportional with the amount of decorations and whatnots that we put in the season. I know, simplistic, and it sounds a lot like a line from a high school formal theme writing; but it's a thought.”

Careerclub Philippines reminds employees why December is a bad month to resign in the Philippines:

“I find it very stupid to resign during this month. December is the most glorious days for regular employees. Aside from getting their 13th month pay, they’ll also get some freebies from employers that include stuffs for the holiday season. On top of that, some companies would also offer bonuses to their regular employees. Others are also giving gift certificates to their employees aside from the bonuses.”

A Nice Time thinks the Philippines becomes a war zone every time Filipinos welcome the New Year:

“If you ever intended to sleep through the New Year, forget it, this is the sound effects for any number of war films and there is no volume control. Steven Spielberg could have sent a sound recorder here for New Year’s Eve and had enough sound effects for six openings of Saving Private Ryan.”

Bikoy feels guilty for attending too many Christmas parties:

“It feels quite sinful, how I’ve been overeating and drinking night after night after night, knowing well how millions of other people in this country have barely anything to eat. If Christmas is a time for joy and merry-making, it is indeed and ironically also a time that awfully reminds us of how tragically disproportionate the concentration of wealth and opportunities are in our society.”

New Philippine Revolution disagrees with surveys showing Filipinos feel optimistic in celebrating the Christmas this year.

“For all I know, prices of commodities have increased substantially since last week. People are feeling this. And I don't think that government is capable enough of explaining why people are not buying enough stuff for their noche buena feasts. A year ago, 2,000 pesos is a lot. Now, it's a pittance. I really don't know what to be thankful for except perhaps that we are still alive despite the horrendous performance of this government.”

An old Christmas tradition is being revived: Pastores de Naga.

“The Los Pastores portrays the story of the shepherds’ search for the baby Jesus that Spanish missionaries in the 16th century used to teach Catholicism in new Spanish colonies.”

How do you say Merry Christmas in different languages?

  • Mitch

    The Philippines is growing from a basically Christian country into a Moslem one. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front are developing a country in the south. The Philippines will have other hoidays to celebrate too. The south, Mindano, is being given to the ‘non christians’ as a country. The land issues are being addressed by State Department USAID programs and CARP, focusing on land preservation and privatisation by companies. The new ethanol plant for fuel alternatives – the US programs were just approved in the US by the President – are examples. Unfortunately, the goups who are interested in the land do not want these programs to work. They need it for ‘farming.’ The changes to the new country being developed seem to focus here. The Philippines are trading the groups who are interested in ‘farming’ for those who are interested in a ‘Moslem’ country. The pattern seems to be effective with the President who fired the rural police that traditionally work in these areas, keeping everyone happy, but now, after the attacks, are not wanted in the South because of the trading for the country versus the groups traditionally interested in ‘farming.’

    Thailand seems to be following the same pattern with South America probably working the same program.

    Chistmas may be a big change next year for the Philippines.

  • Pingback: » Reading for a Jewish/Filipino Christmas » The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century

  • aisanne

    i missed the everything about our country at this time of year,especially christmas and new year..im 23 years old and a trainee here in US,and have to be away to work for 11 months in a farm.there is no other place like home!!i miss the colorful lights,the carolings,beautiful lanterns,simbang gabi and so much more!!wish i could fly just to celebrate christmas with my family,im real homesick..but anyweiz,few months more and i’l be home!!i just missed how we filipinos celebrate christmas!!and im proud that im a filipino with the very unique way of celebrating holidays..

  • http://profiles.friendster.com/andycbuctonjr Andy

    Congratulations to Mong Palatino for writing this essay or whatever. It’s true that Christmas in the Philippines starts on Sept. to Feb. Filipinos really love happenings, they follow our tradition (simbang gabi). In other countries, Christmas Season starts on Dec. 25 to Jan. 5 or until the first week of January. Sometimes I notice, Christmas is here again. Days are just fast. God really wants us to realize that the reason for the season is because of His Son JESUS! So we should help others as JESUS does. Thank You. God Bless!!!!

  • http://www.christonline.info/church Save the World

    Christmas celebrations starts first week in December in Nigeria especially the predominantly Christian south. One of the Southern States- Cross River organizes a yearly carnival during Christian, though Christians have started to complain that the carnival really promotes traditional religion rather than the message of Christ , which is the reason for Christmas

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