Christmas season is the most awaited celebration for the Filipino people. It is the best time of the year for Filipinos who worked overseas, and those who migrated to other countries to visit their homeland, the Philippines and spend holidays with their loved ones. Young and old are excited when Christmas season comes. Everybody is busy decorating their houses and offices with sparkling “parol” or lanterns, putting colorful Christmas lights, preparing for Christmas party, buying and wrapping of gifts, cooking different recipes for relatives and friends to partake, travel to other provinces to visit relatives, enjoying the holidays with loved ones.
In the Philippines, the spirit of Christmas filled in the air starting on the month of September. You can hear Christmas songs played in Malls, radio stations and even in their homes. People will start to decorate their houses, offices, business areas like malls, restaurants and even in parks and plazas. Colorful Christmas lights. lanterns and Christmas trees are present everywhere which make everybody feels that Christmas is here. It adds to the excitement of the Filipinos to see Christmas promos and sale of all goods in most department stores. malls and supermarkets. Almost all business sectors have their own way of promoting their business On Christmas season. Most Filipinos, young and old are looking forward to this time of the year. Here’s how they prepare for Christmas celebration.
Christmas Bonus: Almost all employers are giving Christmas bonus to their employees every end of he year therefore, employees are looking forward to this on Christmas time. They will start to make a list of how they will spend their bonuses a month before Christmas. The top priority on their list are the gifts for family , friends, and God children (they call it ” ina anak”). They will set aside budget for food and goodies for the celebration on the 25th day of December which is the Christmas day and for the new year’s eve. Christmas bonus is a big treat expected by all workers from their employers on Christmas season and it will be a great disappointment to them if they couldn’t receive it.
Lantern and Christmas Tree contest. Private and Public sectors will organize contests on making Christmas trees and lanterns with big prizes. They will challenge the community to come up with a unique idea on how to make lantern out of recycled materials, native products, or things in nature. In the Christmas tree contest, they usually have, the biggest or the most unique Christmas tree. People are inspired to join because of the prizes which they could add to their budget for Christmas celebration. This is an opportunity to those talented people who have meager income to earn more so they could have money to spend for Christmas. Everybody is trying their best to have something to prepare on Christmas day whatever is their status in society, this is the reason why they will do everything they could to earn money to spend for the celebration.
Carolling. This is one way also of earning money for Christmas celebration. Those who have talent in singing, will form a singing group and they will go house to house, caroling, singing Christmas songs for neighbors and friends in return, they will be given money. In the Philippines, nobody refused to give during Christmas. The amount varies depending upon the financial capability of the person they caroled. They can make good money if they will distribute letters to their prospects before the date of their coming and state the purpose of their caroling. Most often they use the proceeds for Christmas party.
Christmas parties. Almost everywhere people are having Christmas party. Of course not in the same date but everybody has it. In schools, private and public offices, business sections and other establishments. They will have program, dances, eating and exchanging of gifts. This is their best time to fellowship with one another. The best time to give and receive gifts from friends and loved ones. Filipinos’ Christmas celebration is not complete without this event.
Noche Buena. This will start on the 24rth night of December until the whole day of the 25fth. Most of them will have Noche Buena party in their homes, in public places and anywhere. No matter how poor a person is, he has something on his table. Some of them will not sleep on the night of the 24rth, they will have games, eating, dancing and some are drinking. This will continue until the whole day of the 25th of December. Children are expecting this event because they will enjoy the games and the goodies they will receive. Young and old are using firecrackers to add color to their celebration. Their Celebration will not be complete without firecrackers. They don’t mind the danger of using it and many of them landed to the hospital but even then, they still used it for fun and enjoyment.
Media Noche. This happens on the New year’s eve. Most of their food are round thing. Like queso de bola, ( a kind of cheese that is round), Ham,
fruits that are round, like melon, oranges, apple, grapes , etc because it is traditional for Filipinos to believe that round thing, represents money. Some of them will wear clothing with dots in it. They also have spaghetti and other noddles on their table to represents long life. Some people will throw coins on the streets or roads to represents fortune for the year. The most disturbing thing they will do when the clock struck at 12am, is to tie a rope on a can and drag it on the streets as their way of welcoming the new year and they don’t want anybody to miss it that’s why they make disturbing sounds to keep everybody awake .Different kinds of fire crackers flew in the air. No body will complain about the noise because it is their tradition and everybody is doing it.
This is how Filipinos celebrate Christmas and new year in the Philippines. It is very different from other countries. Their preparation is not an ordinary one. They will do everything they could to do hard work and save money just to have something for Christmas and new year celebration.