Dec 08, 2018 Christmas in the Philippines
I’ll be doing one post a day highlighting a different country that one of YOU sent me information about. Next up for Christmas around the world Nizza and Myrna from the Philippines shares the traditions and customs of the holidays in her country. Thank you for adding to the magic of the season!
The most celebrated holiday in the Philippines is Christmas. As soon as September starts, most display Christmas trees and other decor. It’s considered the longest festival and foreigners normally say, where in the world do you see people celebrating Christmas as early as September? ONLY in the Philippines!
Filipinos are famous for lechons (roasted pig or cow). But do more roasted pig. So during this season, you will find on most of the tables a whole pig with an apple stuck in its mouth.
Starting at 4 am on December 16th is a series of 9 dawn masses celebrated each morning leading up to Christmas called Simbang Gabi. Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition practiced by Roman Catholics in the Philippines and is a strong indication of the depth of Catholicism among the Filipino people. This tradition was introduced to the Filipinos by the Spanish friars (Philippines was under the Spanish rule for over 200 years!) to allow farmers to hear mass before they started working in the fields.
Simbang Gabi is also known as Misa de Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” since the roosters are known to crow at the break of dawn. Simbang Gabi is a spiritual preparation for Christmas, it is seen as a way of requesting blessings from the Lord and most Filipinos believe that whoever attends all 9 morning masses will have a wish granted. Shortly after mass, traditional delicacies and coffee/hot chocolate await church-goers outside the church which allow family and friends to connect and adds a sense of festiveness. Over the years, Filipino communities have made changes in how this is celebrated- some parishes now celebrate the masses around 7-8 in the evening to accommodate working members of the community. Filipinos who have emigrated to other countries brought this tradition with them to their new communities. I won’t be surprised if you look up Catholic churches near you and find that they are celebrating Simbang Gabi this Holiday season!
Hope you found this fun and entertaining! As they say in the Philippines Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas)