Filipinos are proud to claim that they have the longest Christmas in the world. With the beginning of the months ending in ‘ber’, mothers start rummaging through boxes for Christmas trees, twinkling lights, angel figurines and all sorts of Christmas knickknacks. Carols begin to play on the radio, and pipe-in music in shopping malls play Christmas classics.
As early as September, malls and other commercial establishments start building their belen or crèches depicting the Nativity scene. These crèches are built life-sized or even larger than life, displayed in building facades, parks and manicured gardens. When night comes, cities turn into Christmas villages with all the lights, lanterns and other decorations that adorn every house and building.
Filipino Christmas traditions are mostly influenced by the Spanish colonizers who ruled the country for over three centuries. But while these traditions live up to this day, Filipinos have placed their own indelible trademarks to make them authentic and uniquely Pinoy.
The longest Christmas in the world starts in September and extends well into January, up until the feast of the Three Kings. Perhaps Filipinos like to extend the Christmas celebrations because they want to prolong the festive atmosphere it brings. Christmas is a time for Filipinos to set aside their personal problems and for once give in to the spirit of giving and sharing.
In other parts of the world where Filipinos also reside, Christmas is a very emotional yet happy season. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) start preparing for the longest Christmas in the world early in the year, assembling Balikbayan Boxes containing everything from perfumes and makeup, gadgets and shoes to chocolates and toys. They send these boxes to their families in the Philippines. When they arrive, it’s as if Santa Claus dumped all his presents in one home.
The Christmas in the Philippines ebook will describe the age-old traditions Filipinos practice to this day. Some of these practices are evident not only in the Philippines, but also in countries where European influences are present. There are many cherished traditions that Filipino families religiously follow every year but the ones discussed in the ebook are some of the most popular.