In the Philippines, Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays across the country.
By | Kathleen Nicolas
Christmas in the Philippines is well known around the world for having the longest celebration/countdown during the “Ber” months; which begins in Septem“Ber” to Decem“Ber.”
Even during the early days of September, many malls begin to put out Christmas decorations for customers to purchase.
As early as September, you can see many beautifully decorated homes that have one similar aspect, which are Parols. Parols are traditional Filipino lanterns that come in a variety of colours and designs.
The most traditional Parol has a star design, which represents the star that leads the Three Kings to the manger where Jesus was born.
With these Parols, many people, especially kids, come around the neighbourhood to sing carols. As they go around to each house, homeowners donate some money for the children.
Even though many kids receive a small amount of money, they are still appreciative because they are able to purchase a snack for themselves.
During the last few days before Christmas, many Filipino families participate in a nine-day Novena, which is called Simbang Gabi.
In the Philippines, Simbang Gabi is celebrated during the early mornings, which means that many wake up at 3am every day to attend this Novena.
After every Mass, many gather together to eat a potluck breakfast that includes delicious Filipino food. Some of these foods include: Lugaw (rice porridge), Pancit (stir-fry noodles), and Puto (rice cake dessert).
Lastly, on Christmas Eve, Filipino families gather at midnight to celebrate the arrival of Jesus and the beginning of Christmas Day.
This is called Noche Buena. Noche Buena allows the families to get together one final time before the year closes, but also sing karaoke, play games, and reconnect together.
Again with this special event there must be food involved; some specialty foods prepared include: Hamon (honey glazed ham), Queso de Bola (red-shelled cheese ball), and Bibinka – rice cake with coconut and salted egg.
Overall, Christmas in the Philippines is one of the most iconic and special occasions that many Filipino families celebrate. From the delicious food to the long Christmas countdown, there is something for everyone to enjoy.