Philippines officially known as the Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea.
The Capital of this country is Manila while the largest city is Quezon City.
Christmas Celebrations in Philippines :
Most Filipinos are Christians with about 80% of people being Catholics. It’s the only Asian country with so many Christians because of which Christmas is the most important holiday in the Philippines. December is actually one of the ‘cooler’ months of the year in the Philippines. Christmas customs in the Philippines have Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas cards and Christmas carols from western countries.
The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols heard as early as September and lasting until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 or the Feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú on the third Sunday of January.
They have the unique tradition of making 3-D “parols” or star lanterns made from thin strips of bamboo and covered in colored thin plastic film to symbolize the guiding star that the three wise men followed to find Jesus Christ; it is also the Filipinos’ way of inviting the spirit of Christ into their home- it is to mentally reverse the notion of “no room at the inn”. The star symbolize the willingness of each home to “house” the baby Jesus.
Christmas Eve (“Bisperas ng Pasko”) is very important in the Philippines. Christians go to church to hear the last ‘simbang gabi’ or the Christmas Eve mass. This is followed by a midnight feast, called Noche Buena. The Noche Buena is a big, open house, celebration with family, friends and neighbors. Christmas meals includes lechon (roasted pig), hamón/ham, fruit salad, rice cakes and other sweets, steamed rice, queso de bola (Spanish: “ball of cheese”, which is edam cheese) sealed with red wax; tsokoláte, pandesal, relleno and many different types of drinks.
Christmas Day in The Philippines is primarily a family affair. The Misa de Aguinaldo is celebrated on December 25 and is usually attended by the whole family. It is the main means of celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth for Catholics and Aglipayans. The custom of giving respect has been an age-old tradition in the Philippines called “Pagmamáno”, which is done by bringing the elder’s hand to one’s forehead, while saying the phrase Máno Pô (“Hand, please”) for which “Aguinaldo”, or money in the form of crisp, fresh-from-the-bank bills is given in return by the elders. Also, most Filipino grandparents gather their grandchildren on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, after church and they toss coins in the middle as extra gifts and wishes of prosperity for the new year.
Tagalog is one of the common language in Philippines. In this language Christmas Eve is known as Pasko and Christmas in known as Pascua de Navidad
In the Philippines Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Maligayang Pasko’.
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year 2017 !!!