On December 25th, Christmas Day is celebrated as a holiday and is observed by everyone around the globe. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, a preacher and who became the central figure of Christianity. Nonetheless, Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated worldwide, by everyone, no matter what ethnicity, religion or belief one believes in.
A notice that displays changes in regular mall hours. Public establishments such as malls commemorate the Christmas celebration by making changes in operating hours in order for employees to spend the holidays with their loved ones and friends.
The Philippines, being one of two countries in Asia with Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion, has a prevalent Christmas celebration with its own share of unique customs and practices. The celebration of Christmas begins at the month of September, in which Christmas lights and decorations become present in homes and establishments alike. With the holiday being regarded as the most important one of the year, it is no surprise that the Philippines boasts the longest Christmas celebration in any country, which begins in September and ends in January.
A group of customers at a local tiangge. Stalls that sell assorted items such as clothing and food at low prices are popular in the Christmas season.
People gather at Policarpio Street in Mandaluyong City. The street is a local Christmas attraction, known for its houses that are covered in bright Christmas lights in which people in and out of the city, come to view.
The "House of Light" at Policarpio Street, Mandaluyong City. This house has become a local attraction in the area and is the most well-known house in the street.
The Philippines is also the 3rd largest Roman Catholic country in the world, after Mexico and Brazil respectively. With this comes a plethora of unique variations of celebrating the Holidays. The overly decorated houses that bright the evenings with Christmas lights that brighten every street and avenue.
A food stall above a decorated manger depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Like tiangges, food stalls that serve a plethora of selections under low prices are popular in the Christmas season.
The nation also has its own unique traditions, with Filipinos hearing mass for nine nights before Christmas. This tradition is known as Simbang Gabi or Misa De Gallo, and has its roots way back in the Spanish colonial period. Today, in the contemporary period imbang Gabi is viewed as a custom in which Filipinos all across the country hear mass for 9 days, anticipating Christmas day.
A Christmas fair being held at the heart of Mandaluyong City. The fair is held on Christmas season at the City Hall's vicinity, with bazaars, rides and performances by local performers being present.
The Ayala Triangle holds its annual "Festival of Lights" with a horde of people watching. The City of Makati has been host to this yearly event which garners spectators all over the metro.
A lantern float promoting welfare is paraded in the University of the Philippines Lantern Parade. Even in the spirit of the Holidays, the University never forgets its moral values and what it stands for.
Delicacies such as the bibingka and puto bumbong are sold outside churches and are FIlipino favorites in the holidays. in which it strengthens the religious faith of Filipinos and brings a reminder that the real reason why the nation celebrate Christmas. It is not because of the material gifts and commercialism, but rather for the celebration of love and friendship towards others.
Christmas Eve is also regarded as an important day in the Philippines. The last day of Simbang Gabi is held at this day as Filipinos await Christmas Day. The Noche Buena, a feast that is taken hours before Christmas Day takes place, with some families start opening gifts as the clock strikes 12 in time for Christmas.
A choir sings Christmas carols at the front garage of a house. Christmas caroling is a common tradition in Christmas celebrations in the Philippines where hosts allow a group of people to sing Christmas songs at the front of their homes.
Christmas Day is a very important affair for the FIlipino. The day is dedicated to Church, in which even non-churchgoers attend as well. The day is also where Filipinos visit their extended families and loved ones, where a party is commonly present to celebrate the holiday spirit. Children receive aguinaldo or money wrapped in an envelope from the elders and gift giving is present with all members of the family participating in the activity.
Even as Christmas Day ends, the celebrations and the festivities do not. Filipinos would pay respects to their deceased loved ones and friends, by visiting cemeteries. This is done to not only celebrate the life they once had, but to also spend the most important holiday with the departed.
Puto bumbong being prepared to sell outside a church. This delicacy is iconic in the Philippines and is a favorite delicacy in the Christmas season.
The New Years' Season is as important as the Christmas season, with families gathered together for a feast in New Years' Eve. Known as the Media Noche, it is taken on the same manner as the Noche Buena in Christmas Eve. Notable activities in establishments such as malls and parks at New Years’ Eve are gatherings that await New Years’ Day. These last until midnight, where people celebrate the festivities with fireworks and happiness. These events include shows and concerts, which are attended by hundreds and thousands of Filipinos.
A church filled with people for the traditional Simbang Gabi. The Simbang Gabi is a unique tradition in the Philippines and it serves as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas
Christmas is more than a holiday for the Filipino people. It is a tradition that defines Filipino morals of faith, giving and understanding. It is a time of reflection, thanks and gathering for family and friends. The unique customs that could not be found on other countries make the holiday a much sentimental, special and important event for the Filipino. As the New Year starts, Filipinos are hopeful once again for blessings and joy for the coming months in their everyday lives.