When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. As a matter of fact, you’ll already feel its season once the “ber” months hit your calendar and it officially ends on the Feast of Epiphany (Three Kings) on the first Sunday after the New Year.
Below are the customs and traditions that are uniquely Pinoy.
1. Parol is a Filipino original
Parol or also known as Philippine lantern is a unique Filipino decoration traditionally made from colorful papers, bamboo sticks, and shaped-like five-pointed star. Putting up parols in homes, schools, establishments, offices, and schools is a common Filipino tradition. The first parol was created by Francisco Estanislao in 1908. The world “parol” was derived from the Spanish “farol” meaning lantern or lamp.
2. Aguinaldo is not about Emilio Aguinaldo
Okay, seriously. The word “aguinaldo” often connotes as “gift”. Gifts given usually by ninongs and ninangs. But the original meaning of the Spanish word is “bonus”.
Aguinaldo is a common tradition for every Filipinos to visit their relatives during Christmas day. Kids often wear their finest clothes when visiting their relatives. During the visit, kids would practice the old-age tradition “mano” as an act of respect to elders. This is when they receive their “pamasko”. These gifts are popularly called as “Aguinaldo”.
3. Simbang Gabi
Completing the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo is in almost everyone’s bucket list. Simbang gabi is a nine-day series of masses to honor Blessed Virgin Mary. The mass starts from December 16 to Christmas eve. Filipinos wake up before the crack down to attend the mass in hopes of having a granted wish once they complete the nine days.
Usually, in the Philippines, group of people would fill the streets visiting houses with their instruments like tambourines and guitars singing their favorite Christmas songs. Then after the homeowners reward the carolers with money, they would sing their words of thanks. Recently, caroling has become a fund-raising activity by private organizations and Socio-economic groups.
5. 3 months of Christmas Celebration
There is no other country that celebrates Christmas longer than the Philippines. As a matter of fact, once the “ber” months set in, Filipinos will begin decorating their houses, establishments, and streets with gleaming displays, huge Christmas trees, and astounding decorations. Aside from that, you’ll start hearing timeless Jose Marie Chan Christmas classics as well as different Christmas carols in shopping malls and on the radio. There are those who would only remove the decors in mid January.
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