Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES

According to others, our country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world's longest Christmas season, this starts from September (first month that ends with “ber”) and will end January (Three Kings).

We our also known to have a lot of Christmas traditions / activities like the following:

1. Night Mass / Misa de Gallo / Simbang Gabi


This is nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16. The Simbang Gabi begins as early as three o'clock in the morning. A popular belief is that upon the devotee's completion of the nine Masses, a special wish made by him/her will be granted by God. Attendance at the nine Masses is meant to show the churchgoer's devotion and faith to God as well as to heighten anticipation for the Nativity of Jesus. This is also the start of Christmas Caroling; children in small groups go from house to house singing Christmas carols, which they called pangangaroling.

2. Christmas Parties


Schools and offices organize Christmas parties, which are usually held during the second week of December, common activities include Monito/Monita or Kris Kringle, song and dance numbers, games and raffles. It’s provided either through potluck, or via a pool of contributions to buy food.

3. Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve ("Bisperas ng Pasko") on December 24 is celebrated with the Midnight Mass, and immediately after, the much-anticipated Noche Buena – the traditional Christmas Eve feast. Family members dine together at around midnight on and do exchange of gifts.

4. NiƱos Inocentes


This is commemorated on December 28 as Holy Innocents' Day. he innocents referred to are the children who were massacred by order of Herod, who was seeking the death of the newborn Messiah.

5. New Year’s Eve


On December 31, New Year's Eve ("Bisperas ng Bagong Taon"), Filipino families gather for the Media Noche or midnight meal – a feast that is also supposed to symbolize their hopes for a prosperous New Year. Fireworks, loud noises, children jumping at 12 midnight to grow tall, 12 different kinds of circular fruits wearing clothes with dots , putting coins anywhere in the house and opening and closing windows and door at the first day of the year are the traditional activities of Filipinos.

6. Three Kings


Christmas officially ends on the Feast of the Three Kings. The Feast of the Three Kings was traditionally commemorated on Jan. 6 but is now celebrated on the first Sunday after the New Year. Tradition states that Three Kings leave behind gifts like candy or money. The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called "The Adoration of the Magi" or "The Manifestation of God.", it is known as the day of the Three Kings (or wise men/magi): Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. According to an old legend based on a Bible story, these three kings saw, on the night when Christ was born, a bright star, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christchild and presented it with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

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