Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve...Filipino Style

I tried calling my family back home at 730 am (1130 pm Dec2 4 in Manila) to greet them Merry Christmas. BUT I could not get through the Busy lines. I tried and tried. I finally got through at 9 am and it was 1 am there and they were all asleep except for my brother. We talked for a few minutes and told him I will call later on CA time.

Where I am from, we have a lot of traditions during Christmas. I searched Wikipedia and here it is:

For Filipinos, Christmas Eve or ("Bisperas ng Pasko") December 24 is the much-anticipated Noche Buena --

the traditional Christmas Eve feast after the midnight mass. Family members dine together around 12 midnight on traditional Noche Buena fare, which includes: queso de bola (Span. literally "ball of cheese"; edam cheese), "Tsokolate" (hot chocolate drink) and hamon (Christmas ham), and some would open presents at this time.

In different provinces and schools throughout the Philippines, Catholic devotees also reenact the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary in search of lodging for the soon-to-be born Jesus Christ. This is the traditional Panunuluyan, also called Pananawagan and Pananapatan.

This street pageant is performed after dark on Christmas Eve, with the actors portraying Joseph and Mary going to pre-designated houses. They chant wika wika bang bang, a traditional folksong that is meant to wake up the owner of the house as the actors ask for lodging. But the couple (actors) are turned away by the owners, also through a song. Finally, Joseph and Mary make their way to the parish church where a simulated manger has been set up. The birth of Jesus is celebrated at midnight with the Misa de Gallo, together with hallelujahs and Christmas carols. Everybody celebrates this tradition happily yet solemnly.


wpe4.jpg (20137 bytes)
image from Pasko

A collection
of Filipino parol,
or star lanterns,
is an essential
Christmas decoration
in the Philippines.
These lanterns
dazzling colorful lights
especially at night.

There is no winter or snow in the Philippines at Christmas time. There are very few pine trees. There is no traditional Yule log or fetching of the pine sprigs from the woods. And Santa Claus, though visible in displays and believed by most Filipino children to exist, seldom comes bearing gifts.

Even without snow or pine trees, there's no doubt it's Christmas in the Philippines. Filipino Christmas decorations are abundant and beautiful.

The bamboo parol (pah-role), or star lantern, is the symbol of Christmas in the Philippines, representing the guiding light, the star of Bethlehem. It emits a warmth unparalleled among holiday adornments and is unique to the Philippines.

Filipinos enjoy decorating their homes not only with star lanterns but also with all sorts of Christmas decors. Brightly colored buntings or streamers are hung inside and out. Often, Christmas cards that illustrate scenes in the Philippines are pinned on red and green ribbons. The cards are then hung in the sala, or living room, for all to enjoy. Candles and wreaths are also common adornments. Recently, Filipinos have begun choosing wreaths and other decorations made with local native materials rather than those patterned after western designs. And many houses, particularly those in the urban areas are strung with tiny multi-colored lights both inside and out. Most Filipinos think that decorating their homes for the Christmas holidays is a must.

Source: Philippine Christmas

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