Christmas is the perfect time to get together, once again. Besides having a long break from the demand for your work, you also get to enjoy the cool breeze and the delicious food on the table! For some countries, Christmas begins in the middle of November or the first week of December, but in the Philippines, the festive spirit starts on the very 1st September. This makes you wonder how Filipinos maintain the excitement and spice things up over this quite an extended period.
Well, Pinoy Christmas does a lot of things than just placing a gift under a Christmas tree.
Yep! As mentioned, Christmas starts in September. Prepare to be raided by various Pinoy Christmas songs, especially in malls or establishments. If America has Mariah Carey to welcome the Yuletide season, in the Philippines formally, we have Jose Marie Chan. Your early Christmas shopping wouldn’t be complete without hearing his Christmas serenade almost everywhere.
Who doesn’t know “Christmas in our Hearts” or all the Jose Marie Chan Songs?. When the “BER” months start, especially on the first day of September, the very first song that you will her is this Christmas song. Anywhere around the world, Filipino start to feel the spirit of Christmas.
When I say street carolling, then street it is! If you’re thinking of an organized group of people walking down the streets, then you are indeed wrong! Kids or kids by heart will walk house to house and sing Pinoy Christmas songs using their D.I.Y instruments. Either a can of chips or milk or anything that can create a sound, indeed makes people go outside their houses and join the group singing with a good tip after such a fun encounter. Pinoys are more creative in their instruments and in their own Christmas songs, where they use those famous songs and change the lyrics to make it a Christmas song.
Secret Santa Philippines’ Style- Exchanging Gifts
In here, we call it Monita or Monito, since there is no chimney’s where Santa can climb down. We put extra effort when it comes to our gift-giving. More so, it’s not a one-time big-time activity. Some Families or groups do it on a week-long exchanging of cheaper gifts, mostly novelties before the main event of their wish list become a reality. Filipinos put a twist by creating witty themes for the gifts. Like what we did last year, our gift exchange was so hilarious that I received broom (silhig) and Takya wrapped the pan (Kalaha) with tomato, onion, garlic, and vegetables ready to make stir fry or soup. That was memorable for us that when we remember those times, it gives a smile into our face.
Pinoy Christmas Food
Aside from gifts, Noche Buena is also the second thing the Filipinos prepare so well for. Noche Buena is the meal at midnight that welcomes Christmas. And as Filipinos, Christmas won’t be complete without Noche Buena. It is also a time to showcase momma’s cooking skills to your relatives and friends.
A typical Paskong Pinoy table has pansit, lechon, fruit salad, ham, sticky rice, and many more! We can also add that famous bibingka and puto bumbong that you can either make yourself or buy outside most of the churches. Still, the main centrepiece of the table is the winner of all time- Lechon Baboy!. However, some Filipinos already happy if there are spaghetti and sliced bread on the table while welcoming the Christmas day.
Pinoy Christmas Games
Filipinos are known to be jolly and fun to be with, of course, their Christmas party will surely be a bomb! There are various games to be mentioned but what is usually played is egg relay. An egg relay, you hold a spoon on your mouth while an egg is on top of it. You will have to travel from point to point without dropping the egg until you passed it to your teammate. Sounds fun, right? Wait until you try it for your next family gathering!
Here are some lists for Pinoy Christmas Party Games: Trip to Jerusalem, newspaper dance, statue dance,
Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo
Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo is the most significant event for most of the Filipinos because it is believed that prayer of yours will be answered when you completed the nine masses before the 25th. It is a rich Filipino Catholic Tradition that is meant as a preparation to Jesus’ coming, imitating the nine-month humanly conception of our Lord in Mary’s womb. Simbang Gabi translates to Evening Mass, while Misa de Gallo starts by dawn. Simbang Gabi begins on the 16th December until Christmas eve, and there’s a belief that when you complete the nine days of Simbang Gabi, your wish will be granted.
Christmas Lanterns / Parol
Did you know that Christmas lanterns were initially created for individuals attending Simbang Gabi? They were meant to guide their path as they walk to churches but now, you can see different sizes, shapes, and colors of Christmas lanterns or parol are everywhere! There are some houses, especially those who can afford to make their home looks like a park, which full of Christmas lights. Neighbors can even come and visit and take photos or selfies where you don’t need to pay anymore.
Most of the time, when we hear that Christmas season is coming, the ones we think of are the gifts to come and long-term vacations. While it is true that this festival brings a lot of joy and relief, may we not forget that it is the birth of our Savior that we are celebrating. Pinoy Christmas, behind all these, is focused more on humbling ourselves, and loving our neighbors just like what the Celebrant wishes us to be. After all, Pinoy Christmas is happening every day in our hearts.
How about you bayan, Are you excited for the Pinoy Christmas? How do you prepare your Paskong Pinoy? Do you serve all sorts of Pinoy Christmas Foods? Do you enjoy the Christmas party games Pinoy way? Leave a comment below and share us your stories.
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