Christmas in the Philippines

Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!

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Parols at the Philippine Embassy in NYC
Photo Credit: Flicker by Gigi_NYC

In the Philippines, the formal Christmas celebrations start on Dec. 16 when people go to the first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses culminating on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. It is called Simbang Gabi in Filipino, also called Misas de Gallo. It’s always the day I start decorating the house for Christmas. It is also my Mom’s birthday. I missed my call to her on Dec. 16 this year. Rest in peace, Mom, I miss you. Christmas celebrations continue to January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings, making the Philippines the country that celebrate the longest Christmas season – 22 days.

Christmas customs in the Philippines are a mixture of native, Spanish, Chinese and American elements. The result is uniquely Filipino. In the olden days, when only one rice crop was sown, Christmas coincided with…

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