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Christmas: A National Fiesta in the Philippines
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by: Lutongbahay.com
 

The 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!

It 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.

From 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.

The 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 friendship.

To 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.

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September 22, 2017

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