Monday, September 1, 2014

The Philippine Christmas

When I hear "ber" month, I usually have in my mind that it is the start of Christmas season. Why? Since I live in the Philippines, I can really say that its Christmas at the start on the first day of September. It makes me feel excited for the upcoming Christmas. I'll give you some of the reasons why celebrating Christmas in the Philippines is awesome. 

1. Christmas season starts as early as September. Yes, you heard it right! Most of the radio stations here in the Philippines starts to plays their Christmas song every dawn on the first day of September. Everytime I tune in to my one and only radio station (if you know what I mean.. hahaha) around 4 a.m., they play nonstop Christmas song. In this way, you can somewhat feel that its christmas already where you feel a joyous and heart warming environment. This is also a rainy season where it bring cold breeze which make you feel the cold of Christmas .

2. Misa de Gallo. You really need to wake up as early as 3 a.m. in order to attend the dawn mass or what we called "Misa de Gallo". It is a mass which lasted for nine days starting from December 16 - 24. In this mass, the story behind the birth of Jesus Christ is being read. Some people believe that if you complete all of the nine mass, your three wishes will be granted. After the mass, there are street vendors who sell "kakanin" or native delicacies where you can choose from different variety. My all time favorite that I usually buy is puto bumbong. It is traditionally made from a special variety of heirloom sticky or glutinous rice called Pirurutong which has a distinctly purple color, soaked in salted water and dried overnight and then poured into bumbong or bamboo tubes and then steamed until done or steam rises out of the bamboo tubes. It is served topped with butter or margarine and shredded coconut mixed with sugar. 

3. Celebrating Noche Buena with Family. This what makes Christmas in the Philippines more special. It is the time that your parents, brother or sister which is away from you for almost a year or more return to celebrate Christmas. It feels like yesterday where you are still young and all you have to worry is to wait for the food being served to be eaten. Children are fond of giving and receiving Christmas gifts during Christmas eve. 

4. Christmas Party everywhere. Whether you are working at the office or still at school, Christmas party should not be missed. Christmas party usuall celebrated before Christmas day. This is where Filipinos practice monito-monita. It is a tradition in the Philippines where you need to give a gift to your secret friend or the one whom you have picked during the draw lots of names. Food is also served and don't forget the parlor games which make it a lot enjoyable. 

5. Hanging of Parol in every Houses. Aside from Christmas tree and christmas light, one thing that should not be missed in every house is the "Parol" or Christmas lantern. This tradition has been evolved in every generations. Traditional parol is made up of a bamboo stick and color paper then shaped into a star. Some of it put light bulb to make it glow. Some of it flickers like they are moving. Nowadays, there are diferent varieties of style has been evolved from its basic star shape. Some of this shapes like christmas tree, bells, reindeer and even santa. 

There are a lot of traditions and events on Christmas that you can only experience in the Philippines. That is why you should not missed every Christmas here in the Philippines.