I am a bit melancholy now thinking about Simbang Gabi, bibingka, puto bungbong, aginaldo, family reunion, office Christmas party, raffle, parol, belen, carolling, Christmas display, BOOM na BOOM, carnival, high school friends get-together, college friends get-together, out-reach, hamon, lechon, morcon, Christmas shopping, kris kringle, HOLIDAY, 13th month pay, bonus, GIFTS...
Oh, this list can be endless and I'm sure many of you out there would agree when I say that Christmas in the Philippines is the best there is. I know because every year (where ever I am) I always miss the festive atmosphere that Christmas brings.You can't just compare - 'Christmas - Pinoy Style.
For foreigners who have not been to the Philippines and Filipinos born abroad who have not yet experienced Pinoy Christmas, here are 10 reasons why you should come and celebrate.
1/ Longest Christmas season - even wikipedia is saying yes to this. September marks the beginning of our festive season and extends up to Epiphany (which is 12 days after Christmas). As early as September 1, you would hear Christmas songs being played on every radio station there is. Malls would be starting up with their decorations. Colorful lights, garlands, parol (Christmas star) or wreath would be seen everywhere, from the most modest to the very extravagant ones. You will not miss the Christmas spirit in the air.
2/ Christmas shopping - I am not exactly sure how this tradition came about, but every year during Christmas we would always have new clothes and shoes apart from the gifts we expect to receive. I believe this practice has been passed on from generation to generation... this plus the fact that Christmas is the time for giving is the reason why all stores would have loads of promotions, gift suggestions, SALE, etc., etc. And what about the Christmas bazaars, tiangge sa Greenhills, the cute little stores in Mayon in Manila, Divisoria.. no consumer would not be attracted to shop at this time. Just have fun and don't mind the unbelievable traffic (either on the road or inside the mall) that goes with the rush.
3/ Christmas Party/s - miss this so much! From old friends way back in your pre-school days, to work colleagues, even your church groups, I remember having to attend a gathering week after week after week - the frequency changing to a day after another as Christmas day nears when the big feast will be the one with family. Not to mention the weddings that is also timed during this happy season. Time to be merry - forget about diet please!
4/ Simbang Gabi - the cool air, the smell of bibingka and puto bungbong, waking up early and meeting up with friends, the clang of the church bell, the anticipation of a novena completed... I miss them all!
... to be continued