Why is Christmas the longest holiday remembered, prepared for and celebrated in the Philippines – the rest of the Catholic world excluded – beginning with the “ber” months, i.e., September to December of every year? More. The spirit of Christmas can be readily said as in fact even extended to January of the next year with the big celebration of the Feast of the Infant Jesus in many places in the Country. In other Christian countries, yes, Christmas is observed but definitely not that long, much less that fervent. There are some Christmas trees lighted. There are also certain Christmas songs sung, Christmas greetings said, Christmas gifts given. Still, all these take place but a little before or on Christmas Day itself. But it is quite interesting that in the Philippines:
Even but the gradually felt cold climate in the year is already associated with Christmas. No wonder then that usual Christmas songs and cheers are also heard that early. Both producers and consumers are already thinking about what to sell for others to buy and how much it would cost. Christmas lanterns are prepared early, sold early, lighted early. Even the song “Christmas Bonus” is sung early – together with “Joy to the World”, “Oh Holy Night” – to mention but a few Christmas Songs of very long standing.
Why do Filipinos simply love Christmas? Because they are by and large family-oriented and the Christmas nativity scene is none other than the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph together.
Why do Filipinos observe the “Simbang Gabi”? Because it was precisely in a “Silent Night, Holy Night” that Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, and when the angels sung “Glory to God in the highest”.
Why do Filipinos usually hang in their homes and light a “Parol” in the form of a star? Because they want to tell others that Jesus could be found in their homes, considering that it was a star that led the Wise Men to where Jesus was born.
Why do Filipinos give their gifts to one another during Christmas? Because the said Wise Men from the East gave the Baby Jesus the gifts of “gold” because of His Kingship, “incense” because of His Divinity, and “myrrh” because of his humanity.
Why do Filipinos have their “Noche Buena” on Christmas evening? Because it gathers their families together – eating, laughing, and enjoying one another’s presence during a meal specially prepared for the occasion.
By the way: Why do Filipinos readily observe the “Holy Week” which is synonymous to pain, suffering and death? It is because they know, they feel, and live suffering through their poverty and misery. And why do Filipinos not that observant in celebrating “Easter Sunday” which is the greatest Feast in the Church. It is because the truth it proclaims and the message it brings are so sublime that such a sublimity is by and large beyond their understanding and grasp – considering their by and large difficult if not miserable day-to-day life.