Christmas in the Philippines
"Frosty the snowman..." "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas..." "Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh..." From those lines of different Christmas songs, nothing comes close in describing Christmas in the Philippines as we do not have snow in the country.
Filipinos celebrate "Pasko" or Christmas as soon as the months carry "ber" on them. That's right, as early as September, Filipinos are busy preparing for that time of the year. You'll hear places playing Christmas songs like homes, malls, streets, restaurants. Some cannot wait for Halloween to be over so they put their Christmas decors on.
How Filipinos celebrate Christmas
Christmas for Filipinos is an important part of religion in remembrance of Christ's birth. Aside from putting up decors and playing Christmas songs, Filipinos also prepares for what we call "Simbang Gabi" (Midnight Mass), where Catholics attend the mass for 9 nights (sometimes in the early dawn) from the 16th of December until the 24th. Role plays about the angel talking to Mary and Joseph bringing the news of concepcion, the journey of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the gift-giving made by the shepherds and the 3 wise men are rampant in schools, street programs, stage plays, and in the church as well (at times, it's part of the mass). This season also serves as a reunion for families and friends, giving and exchanging gifts, charitable works, and attending a lot of Christmas parties. Christmas carols are also famous among the kids and teens as they go from one house to another and sing Christmas songs every night. We also have Bazaars where people shop for gifts at a very affordable price. Filipinos take this season as an opportunity as well, to go to amusement parks and exhibits.
Decors and Food
The most famous decor in the home of a Filipino would be the "Parol" (lantern in a shape of a star). You can see different kinds of "parol" being sold on the streets, with different sizes and styles. There are also events involving "parol" making, and exhibits are being held as well to showcase those beautiful lanterns.
Now, let's talk about food. Christmas in the Philippines is not complete without "Puto Bumbong" (rice cake covered with margarine and steamed in a bamboo stick then topped with brown sugar) and "Bibingka" (rice cake cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaf and topped with red egg and butter). Don't forget to try those if you have a chance visiting the Philippines. We also have the "Noche Buena" where families stay together at Christmas eve and feast on food.