Christmas is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in the Philippines. It is said that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. For where else can you find Christmas carols being played as early as late October, and Christmas decors being taken down only after the Feast of the Three Kings? Christmas or "Pasko" is the most awaited celebration and happiest event in the Philippines. This is also the time of the year when families get together, especially when family members from overseas come home with lots of gifts. ("pasalubong"), exchanging gifts and the family feast highlight the most loved celebration.
In our family, Christmas is celebrated by preparing all the Christmas decors before Christmas as a sign of preparation for the coming of Christ. Manito-Manita is also done in our house as a way of exchanging gifts to my family. It is also a tradition that we attend the "Simbang Gabi", a series of nine dawn masses that starts as early as 4:00 a.m. from December 16 to 24. After attending the last ‘simbang gabi’ we go straight to our houses to prepare the Noche Buena. Different kinds of food are being prepared on the table like spaghetti, adobo, lumpia, lechon and hamon, which is always present during Christmas. It is also an opportunity for family get together, opening of gifts, singing and story-telling. Also, during Christmas Eve kids earn some money aside from toy gifts. In some homes, it is also one way to welcome the less-fortunate by inviting orphans or poor people to join in the Christmas celebration. But, the true essence of Christmas is not gift giving but sharing this special holy day with our family.