July 15, 2024


MANILA: After almost 4 months of celebrations, Filipino Catholics began on Saturday night their essential Christmas feast — for a lot of, probably the most awaited time of the yr.


The Philippines has the longest Christmas festive season on the earth. It formally begins on Dec. 16, when folks begin to go to the primary of 9 pre-dawn plenty, however in lots of households, the festive season kicks off in September and runs by October, November, and December.  


“We name it the ‘ber-months’ as a result of historically, throughout these ‘ber months’ the local weather turns into cooler,” stated Nestor Castro, a professor of anthropology on the College of the Philippines.


“On the radio, you’d hear Christmas carols already beginning in September.”


Most frequently, the primary voice to convey the songs is that of Jose Mari Chan, one of many nation’s most famed balladeers who’s popularly dubbed because the King of Philippine Christmas Carols.


“He has been an icon close to Christmas carols. So, when you hear his songs, you realize it’s already the Christmas season and that is performed on the radio even in procuring malls and different locations,” Castro informed Arab Information.


Round that point, malls additionally begin to inventory their cabinets with Christmas gadgets and Christmas decorations start to pop up in public locations. At residence, folks start to hold decorative paper lanterns referred to as parols.


“These are Christmas lanterns. It’s a five-pointed star lantern with two tails wrapped in coloured Japanese paper, and now now we have plastic variations in addition to capiz shells. And now we have parols constructed from Pampanga, that are big electrical lanterns,” Castro stated.


“It’s a Christian image, however the design of the parol is exclusive to the Philippines.”


The parol is historically hung on the home windows of homes and alongside the streets. It symbolizes the star of Bethlehem that guided the three magi, or the three kings, to the newly born Jesus.


For 9 consecutive days, till Christmas Day, Philippine Catholics attend early morning mass and are handled to puto bumbong, purple rice truffles, that are historically offered by road distributors solely throughout the season.


On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, Filipinos collect with their households for the Noche Buena.


“It is a Spanish phrase which means ‘good evening’ or ‘affluent evening.’ That is when relations collect collectively and share a meal on Christmas Eve, and there will probably be sure kinds of meals which can be specifically served throughout the Noche Buena. So, you don’t usually eat this on a daily event, however solely on particular events,” Castro stated.


Noche Buena dinner comes after Midnight Mass. For Felinor Baltazar, attending it was one thing she would by no means miss.


“As a result of that’s whenever you welcome the beginning of Jesus Christ,” she stated. “For many Catholics, Christmas will not be full if you don’t attend the Midnight Mass. Since I used to be a toddler, now we have been doing that. Then, whenever you get residence, that’s whenever you share the meal for the Noche Buena with the entire household.”


For the household of Priam Nepomuceno, a authorities employee, it was a very powerful day of the yr.


“We all the time look ahead to our get-together. Filipinos are household oriented and what brings the household nearer collectively is holidays and meals, and meals associated to holidays,” he stated.


“We’re retaining the household custom of getting collectively for this big day and you may’t be absent.”