Philippine is said to have the longest Christmas season in the world. As early as September, bright and colorful Christmas decorations are being displayed in houses and especially in the malls and commercial establishments and festive
holiday music are being played and heard almost everywhere!
begins formally on December 16, when people start attending the "Misa de
Gallo" or "Simbang Gabi" which is a mass that marks the start of the
nine-day novena and ends on Christmas day itself. A Simbang Gabi, however, will
not be complete without the purchase
native foods such as "puto
bumbong" (rice steamed inside a
"bumbong," or small bamboo tube), "bibingka" (rice cake with
salted eggs and fresh coconut meat) and "suman" (steamed rice wrapped
in banana leaves) outside the church.
this day, you can also expect a lot of
"cumbacheros," or carolers, to visit your house with musical
instruments to serenade you and your neighbors ranging from small children with
improvised musical instruments to adults with a complete choir.
On Christmas Eve, families attend the
midnight mass. This is always a special event that children wear new clothes to.
After the mass, families and relatives, and even friends, gather together for
"Noche Buena". This is a festive meal followed by the exchange of
gifts, which lasts through the next morning.
Philippines is the only Asian country where Christians predominate. Majority of
its people are Roman Catholic. Christmas, therefore, is an extremely important
and revered holiday for most Filipinos. It
is a time for family, for sharing, for giving, and a time for food, fun, and
most Filipinos, Christmas is the most anticipated fiesta of the year and is
celebrated accordingly. The splendid climate of this tropical island nation, the
abundance and beauty of its flowers, and lovely landscape, its multitude of
culinary delights, and above all its warm-hearted people with their true
devotion to family and faith all contribute to a holiday celebrated in the true
Philippines fiesta tradition.