We Filipinos never grow tired of Christmas, simply because of the good things it represents for us. It’s actually nice that this year, Christmas Day landed on a Saturday, which makes the holiday more relaxing for some of us. (For all those working on Christmas Day, such as the security guards, call center agents and mall employees, and members of the media, my love goes out to you as well.)
Gift giving is one of the biggest highlights of Christmas. Sure, gifts nowadays cost a lot of money, and we have to sacrifice a lot of time and effort to find the perfect stuff that we could give to our family/friends/co-workers/sweethearts/whatever, but seeing the joy in their faces when they do receive their gifts is something we can never grow tired of.
The most important part of Christmas in the Philippines is our reverence to the holiday’s religious significance. Filipinos have the longest Christmas celebration in the world, ushered in by the nine-day Simbang Gabi on December 16. Some areas also have the “panunuluyan,” the reenactment of the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary in search of lodging, and other religious events. Most of the time this is celebrated with the singing of Christmas carols and charity work, among others.
|The Nativity by Charles-François Poerson, 1667|
Christmas is a celebration for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Never mind how commercialized the Yuletide season is, or how people think of Santa Claus and the material matters of the holiday season more often. Christmas not only means paying respects to the child Jesus (especially if you’re a Catholic), or setting aside time to be good to others (one of the secular aspects of the holiday).
Christmas all boils down to sending our love to the world in commemoration of this holiday. Christmas is a time to share part of ourselves to everyone. Christmas is the season of giving, sharing, selflessness, love, and most of all, peace.
Peace be with you all. Again, Merry Christmas!