Sunday Essays: Celebrating Christmas

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

CHRISTMAS is the most awaited season for Filipinos. Many of Filipinos look forward to non- working holidays, family reunions and gift-giving. But Filipinos’ ways on celebrating Christmas is sometimes funny.

Christmas is celebrated during December but Filipinos celebrate this way too long.

As early as September, houses are already painted with Christmas décors and sometimes families would not remove it until March. It is somehow a bit unusual that Christmas decors are present during Halloween trick-or-treats.

That’s a Filipino way of saying “hello ber-months it’s Christmas time!”

Filipinos are fond of caroling during Christmas. Most of the carollers are children. There are some children who would sing Christmas songs with incorrect lyrics in front of you directly. And the most terrible, children would carol as early as November 1 during the hype of Halloween.

It seems these children are fond of the tradition of receiving “aguinaldo” or money.

Christmas season is also a time for 13th month pay. So Filipinos are greatly excited to receive their additional whole monthly salary on this season.

They would think about what they will buy months before the actual pay. That is why Filipinos would tend to joke co-workers and demand gifts when they receive their 13th month pay.

Another Filipino Christmas tradition is “Misa de Gallo”.

Starting December 16, people would wake up as early as 3:00 am to attend mass. There is a belief that if you completed this nine early morning devotional mass, a wish would be granted.

Even if it is not yet proven, Filipinos would do everything to be able to attend these nine mornings. A funny instance is that people would set the three alarm clocks to be able to wake up early and even ask someone to wake them up early. And if they fail to even for just one day, you would see a face of devastation because their wish would not come true.

Love is also tagged during this season. Some Filipinos would race to have a love life during Christmas. Some would do everything to have a special someone in their lives.

One reason for this is for them to receive a gift for Christmas or not to be a part of the “Samahan ng Malalamig ang Pasko” (SMP).

The term SMP is very popular during the Christmas season. This term was derived from an iced tea TV Commercial. Members of the SMP are those who do not have a special someone during Christmas. This has become a teasing term.

But Filipinos are very innovative of this term. Some would alter the meaning of SMP as “Sampalin ang Manghihingi ng Pamasko” (a slap for those would ask for Christmas gift) or “Samahan ng Mga Pogi” (group of handsome people.)

Filipinos are celebrating Christmas with a big smile. We do not frown on Christmas season. We smile amidst all problems and trials.

*****

Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao for their journalism subject. (Joemar Ray Tuclaud)

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