Christmas traditions differ from one culture to another but in the Philippines, the festive spirit can be felt months prior to the actual Yuletide season. Though we may not have the traditional Marché de Noël in my country, there are still many interesting facts that make the Philippines a top Christmas destination.
1. Christmas Season begins as early as September
Some would say, the Philippines celebrate the longest Christmas season. As soon as the “ber” months hit the calendar, malls will hang their Christmas decorations in every corner, radio stations will play Christmas carols on loop and people would begin shopping for their Christmas presents.
2. “Simbang Gabi” Tradition
The Simbang Gabi or also called Misa De Gallo is a nine-day novena mass from December 16 until the 24. What’s more interesting with this tradition, is that the masses are held at four in the morning just before the sun begins to rise. This one particularly continues to be a staple in our predominantly Catholic country.
3. Noche Buena
“Noche Buena” is a Spanish word which translates to the night of Christmas Eve. Filipino families gather around the dining table and enjoy a feast till the wee hours of the 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus.
When you drive around the city during the Christmas season, you’ll see at almost every home a Parol hanging outside their window panes or front doors. A Parol is a star-shaped ornament that symbolizes the “star of Bethlehem”. Many continue to believe that with this symbolism, it will guide the three kings to the manger. At the same time, it is also a symbol of hope for the Filipino people.