The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines begins on the 16th of December and ends on the first Sunday of January which is the Feast of the Epiphany (The Three Kings). The Christmas season starts December 16 with a Mass called the Misa de Gallo. A Christmas carol (also called a Noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is quite different from the other countries of the world. It is the longest of the Philippine festivities stretching for over 3 weeks. This makes the Filipino Christmas celebration one of the longest Christmas season in the world. A rich tradition which dates back to the Spanish period. Christmas or “Pasko” is the most awaited celebration and happiest event in the Philippines. This is also the time of the year when family get-together, especially when family members from overseas come home with lots of “pasalubong” gifts. Exchanging gifts and the family feast highlight the most loved celebration. The official Christmas season, popularly known as either Christmastide or the Twelve Days of Christmas, extends from the anniversary of Christ’s birth on December 25 to the feast of Epiphany on January 6. Christmas is based on the story of Jesus’ birth as described in the Gospel according to Matthew and the Gospel according to Luke. Each Christmas Eve, Filipinos hold the Panunuluyan, in which a couple reenacts Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Filipinos decorate the inside of their homes like Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and they carefully cover the outside with flags, colorful flowers, Christmas lights and star-shaped paper lanterns called Filipino Christmas Lantern or parol. Christmas here in the Philippines are the most awaited holiday, most celebrated month, because it is a time for family, for sharing, for giving, and a time for food, fun, and friendship. Christmas customs around the world reflect the variety of cultures that celebrate the holiday. For some people, Christmas is primarily a holy day marked by religious services. For others, gift giving, feasting, and good times figure more prominently. At its root, Christmas celebrates one of the fundamental events of Christianity, the birth of Jesus.
See also: Santa Claus