We are familiar with the comments made by other nationalities that we are frivolous in celebrating Christmas season. Filipinos are known to have the longest celebration of this occasion.
We tend to decorate our houses with Christmas decors like lanterns, lights and trees from November or earlier than that. We change curtains and tablecloths with a Christmas theme on them on or before December.
We begin to plan for the Christmas menu many days before Christmas eve. Then we go to a mall or a department store to buy the available goods which are affordable within our limited budget.
Both old people and the youth are used to give any kind of gifts to their family, friends, relatives and neighbors. In case there is no enough budget for these, recycled items or cooked foods are given instead. As long as there is something special one can give, it should be done whole-heartedly.
One hard reality existing in our nation is the absence of a loved one or two in the family. Due to unemployment and poverty being experienced by many, they are forced to work abroad and leave their families behind.
During Christmas holidays, these overseas contract workers would find a way to go home to be with their loved ones. They usually buy the quality goods for each of their loved ones and friends. Though they sacrifice much of their earnings for this festivity, they do not mind as long as they see them smiling and laughing.
On Christmas day, members of the family get busy with cooking special foods to share with everyone including relatives and neighbors who drop by for the occasion. Gifts and money are then given to either family members or godchildren who are used to receive them on that day.
Chats and laughter are the usual sounds of the day but music-loving Filipinos would make more sound by singing through videoke. They do not easily get tired in this and sing through the whole day if given a chance.
Christmas season for us Filipinos really begins on the sixteenth of December. We observe what we call “simbang-gabi” or a night mass which is actually a mass at dawn. Many devoted Catholics would go to their cathedrals or chapels to attend this.
Then it extends to New Year’s day and Three Kings’ day on the sixth of January. We still celebrate these important holidays especially the Catholics who are the predominant religious people in the Philippines.
With the same vigor and merriment, we continue to celebrate the blessed season in the same manner our great grandparents had done this.This is the spirit which binds us as one culture and one nation. This is the spirit which envelops and rests on us to move onward no matter what befalls.