The Philippines has a notably long Christmas season. Unofficially, Christmas in the Philippines start with the "-ber" months, September through December. Indeed, radio stations throughout the country start playing Christmas songs as early as September. Officially, however, the mostly Catholic Filipinos start their holiday season on December 16, with the start of the Misa de Gallo or Morning Masses and ends it on the Epiphany.
Filipino Christmas Traditions
The Misa de Gallo or literally, the "rooster's mass" is a nine-day novena wherein Filipinos wake up at dawn to hear mass at church for nine consecutive days, culminating on Christmas eve. This is considered to be the most important Christmas tradition for Filipinos.
Families also gather together to have a midnight feast on Christmas eve called the noche buena. After this feast, comes the gift giving and opening of presents for some families, while others wait until Christmas morning to do these.
Christmas parties are also a big part of the Filipino Christmas, with most schools, offices and stores holding their Christmas parties on different nights once December rolls in. These parties are peppered with parlor games, contests, food and sometimes, production numbers prepared by employees or students.
Christmas carols are usually sung during the Christmas season, with young and old carolers regaling households with their repertoire of Christmas songs. Filipino children go from house to house to regale their occupants with songs. In return, the listeners give them coins, candies and other inexpensive gifts for their efforts.
A country of roughly about 75% Catholics and Christians, the Filipinos put special emphasis on the symbolism and importance of Baby Jesus even in its Christmas symbols. A common Christmas decoration is the Belen (nativity scene), which depicts the manger scene with Joseph, Mary, the Baby Jesus and the whole cast of characters like the Three Wise Men, stable animals and angels.
Another common decoration is the parol, a star-shaped lantern that symbolizes the star of Bethlehem.
But the Philippines also have Western-inspired decorations. No house in the country celebrates Christmas without a Christmas tree. Friends also exchange holiday cards on top of gifts. Further, every child in the country knows who Santa Claus is. Some carols even have imagery of snow, while some decorations depict snow even if the Philippines does not have snow.
But Christmas in the Philippines is mostly about family. MerryStockings.com recognizes this. If you want to wow your friends and family in the Philippines, send them truly personalized gifts of you and your family, like these holiday greeting cards or photo ornaments!