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Monday, 1 September 2014

THOUGHTS: Experience the Longest Festive Season in the World!

Pasko na Guys, Merry Christmas!

Where would you find the most Christmas spirit in the world? I am pretty sure it's really hard to say, but if a global competition were to be held, the Philippines would have an excellent shot at winning. Yes, Filipinos are considered to have the longest festive season in the world. While other countries are preparing for the 1st month of school year, buying school supplies and school uniforms, Filipinos are already thinking of the upcoming holiday season – what are the last trend for Christmas decors, cheapest yet most stylish designs and starting to look and save for some gifts.

One international magazine says that Filipinos are one of the happiest people in the world. Why? Because we have so many fiestas, we always celebrate birthdays, and sometimes, even if there is no occasion, sabi nga, may bangkito lang at lamesa sa harapan, pwede nang may pagharapan. No wonder, PInoys love love to celebrate and enjoy Christmas Holidays.

So let’s have some time and take a look again some Philippine Christmas Traditions:

Special credit to those who owned this photo
1. Simbang Gabi – It is believed that if you make a wish after completing the nine masses, it will come true. who among you already completed 9 mornings? Tenen! I did, once. When I was in Kindergarten. My grandmom used to be a member of Legion of Mary in our province. As a result, she needed someone to accompany her every morning.  We have our own “pwesto” inside the church. After the mass, I will receive my premyo, and that is – Bibingka and puto bumbong!

Special credit to those who owned this photo

2. Bibingka/Puto Bumbong – an original Philippine delicacies, Puto Bumbong is  glutinous purple rice stuffed into bamboo tubes with butter, sugar and coconut, and Bibingka is considered as the Ric Cake of Philippine Christmas. And believe me, spending your Christmas in the Philippines without trying them is like staying in Alaska without trying ice ski, boringgggg….. :D (click HERE for more)

Special credit to those who owned this photo

3. Parol – this symbolizes the guiding light of the 3 wise men who visited Jesus Christ in the manger.  Lanterns were used by people to light their paths during the ritual Yuletide dawn masses called 'Misa de Gallo' [midnight mass], because electricity was unavailable at the time in many rural areas. Although lanterns now are now glowing with electronic lights, the essence of it remains the same -- a guiding light in the darkness for worshippers wanting to congregate and pray. Tip: You can find the biggest, the bestest and the most colorful lanterns in Pampanga, aka the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. 

Special credit to those who owned this photo

4. Noche Buena – Christmas tradition of which Philippines residents are fond -- gathering together to make and enjoy food specifically made for the Christmas season. For example, Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena, is traditionally when families come together to host a large festive meal. The celebration is well known in Spain and Latin America and stems from the nation's colonial past. And the most common handa? Keso de Bola at hamon!
Special credit to those who owned this photo
5. Mano po Ninong, Mano po Ninang, namamasko po! – wow, this was certainly my favorite thing back then, paramihan ng malulutong na limang piso, lolz! But as time passes by, kids are becoming mode “demanding”. When I was a child (not so long ago, byt the way.. :D) 20.00-100.00Php will give so much gladness in our pocket, but now, kids are asking for a bigger remote controlled toys, Anna and Elsa life size dolls, and even iphone and ipads, how’s that? But still, the spirit of gift giving is still the same, since this symbolizes of how the 3 wise men gave their most important possession to Jesus when they saw him the first time.

Special credit to those who owned this photo
6. Christmas Carols – Mediacom, Magic Sing, extreme, videoke, karaoke.. name it, and every Filipino will say “ahh oo, meron kami nyan.” Filipinos love to sing, even if they are not truly gifted with golden voice, just give them a microphone and a songbook and everything will fall… from their seats, char! So why not bring them to streets, and be one of the carolers? This is not new to Filipinos, especially to children who always sing their favorite Christmas song – “sa maybahay ang aming bati, merry Christmas na mamalhati (maluwalhati), ang pag ibig pag syang naghari, araw araw ay magiging pasko lagi! 

Special credit to those who owned this photo

7. Christmas Tree - Believe it or not, I was already 26 when we had our first Green Christmas Tree. We had in our province but it was not a typical christmas tree. So when I had my small savings, I asked my mom to go to shopping centre and by one. Sobrang tuwa ko nun, as in! my mom decorated it with gold and red christmas ornaments. Sooo xoxal, hahah! By the way, The Christmas tree comes to us from Germany. Martin Luther is credited with being inspired by the starry heavens one night, and expressing his feelings to his family by bringing a fir tree into his home, and attaching lighted candles to its branches. Fir meant fire, and fire is an ancient symbol for spirit. The tree also pointed toward the heavens.

So there you have it. And now, I am feeling nostalgic. :( Di bale, 3 more moths to go and I will feel again the Christmas breeze in the Philippines, weeee! Christmas sa Pinas 2014, Here I come!!!!

2010, My Last Christmas in Pinas (Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija)