Christmas In The Philippines

It is September 1, 2011 and today is the start of the Christmas in the Philippines. Soon the streets and the stores will be playing almost non-stop Christmas music. Well, this early on there will be a few Christmas songs but you are very likely to hear them. Christmas in the Philippines is very special within the Filipino cutlure.

My first year here, I was in Jollibee’s and it is hot as there is brownout in Bogo City.  I noticed several Christmas tunes so I asked Jessie “Why are they playing Christmas songs at this time of the year?” I was then informed that Christmas starts in September.

I could probably walk down the street today and hear kids singing Christmas song. Maybe, maybe not. I did last year around this time.

Filipinos love Christmas. It really isn’t such a bad thing. We always say why can’t it be like this all year? In the Philippines, they give it a good try.

Christmas In In Your Heart

Besides the songs, you’ll start hearing “Where is my Christmas?” My reply is a smile and I tell them “Naay Pasko sa imong kasing-kasing” which means Christmas is in your heart. I’ll have to start practicing that again as had to look it up in order to post it here. 🙂 Of course, it is not the answer they wish to hear. They are hoping you’ll pop some money into their hands. I’ve gotten some dirty looks when I replied with “Where is my Christmas.” Mostly it will be kids that do this. Don’t be harsh, they think you are so rich that you bleed money.

Christmas ParolIn the Philippines, the last for months of the year are often referred to as the “Ber Months” as each one ends with “ber.” Christmas decorations will soon be blinking and flashing with the parol as the featured item. I bought a parol kit and it is time I start working on it. I’ll get a glue gun in  a few days and go to work. It will probably end in total frustration. Oh well, I’m going to try. The parol can be quite an exceptional display. It is a star made of bamboo and tissue mostly. Often they are lighted. Some are extravagant with flashing lights. Most are very simple. They come in I think four colors. Each color has religious significance.

Foreigners Will Be Complaining

It hasn’t even started yet but I’m already sick of the foreigners complaints about the Philippines. Give me a break, you’ve got it so good that you can be bothered by such a trivial thing? You’re spoiled and you need to get over yourself. Lately, I’ve run into a lot of complaining, moaning, self-centered foreigners and I’ve just had it up to my eyeballs.

You’re sitting around whining about things like this while living among massive amounts of poverty. People generally happy with life and have much they could be complaining grumps about but instead are usually very happy people. They are lucky to have running water and air con is so rare that most Filipino will be cold in it.

Filipino children often work in the streets 12 hours a day and hope to earn about a dollar a day and you’re the one that feels sorry for yourself for having to deal with the poverty? You’re the one that is irate when someone ask “Where is my Christmas?”  Sorry, I’ve really had it up to my eye balls with inconsiderate, self-centered and selfish  jerks over the last few weeks.

Despite the “Where’s my Christmas” question in the Philippines, the season is really all about the true spirit of Christmas. Enjoy the carolers, enjoy the lights and well try not to get sick of all the Christmas music. That can be a little hard a few days into January when it all ends.

Christmas In The Philippines — Simbang Gabi

The last nine days of Christmas in the Philippines is known as Simbang Gabi. During this time the devoted will attend early morning mass and preform specific rituals and prayers. The elders often tell the younger people that if they follow this religiously they will have many blessings.

The last day is known as Misa de Gallo or “Rooster’s Mass.” I often hear it referred to as mass of the rooster. I’m still a little amused because this is the only time one will see Filipinos constantly calling a rooster a rooster. The rest of the time it is almost always a cock. Jessie says that the “Mass of the Cock” is just rude. haha. Yes, I know, I have a demented sense of humor and perhaps it is a bit strange too. It helps to enjoy Christmas in the Philippines rather than join in the chorus of the whiners.

I hope I’m able to go to some of these services this year. There’s just no better way to learn about Filipino culture than to take part in it.  The hour they are held at is a little tough for me as it is generally my bedtime. Sometimes I wish I was normal.

I hope you can enjoy the Christmas season in the Philippines. It isn’t commercialized like it is in the West. It is all about family and sharing. Its about peace and a brotherhood of man. Christmas in the Philippines is still about Christmas so you can choose to enjoy it and be happy or you can choose to complain. I intend to relish in the period of Christmas in the Philippines.

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Filed under: Filipino Culture

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