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"I will hold Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens.

Witches Net

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas in Philippines

    The only Asian nation in which Christianity is the religion chosen by the people. Christmas celebrations start nine days before Christmas with a mass known as Misa de Gallo. At this mass the story behind the birth of Christ is read from the Bible.

    The Panunuluyan pageant is held each Eve. A couple is chosen to re-enact Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.

    Mass is held hourly on Christmas Day so that everyone can attend. Religious services include pastore, or play, based on myth of the birth of the Christ Child. The pastore closes with a star from the upper part of the church sliding down a wire and coming to rest over the church's Nativity scene.

    Christmas celebrations may have evolved from old tribal customs mixed with other influences. Serenading cumbancheros, or strolling minstrels, end their performances by singing Maligayang Pasko to the tune of "Happy Birthday".

    Carolyn Mathews, Texas

    As part of my people's traditions, the children also go around their neighborhood and sing carols to each household. Sometimes, they get money, sometimes they get fed. The money they get, they use to buy gifts for themselves or loved ones.

    We also have the unique tradition of making 3-D "parols" or star lanterns made from thin strips of bamboo and covered in colored thin plastic film to symbolize the guiding star that the three wise men followed to find Jesus Christ; it is also the Filipinos' way of inviting the spirit of Christ into their home- it is to mentally reverse the notion of "no room at the inn". The star symbolize the willingness of each home to "house" the baby Jesus.

    Also, most Filipino grandparents gather their grandchildren on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, after church and they toss coins in the middle as extra gifts and wishes of prosperity for the new year.

    In more affluent households, it is traditional to serve all kinds of food as a form of Thanksgiving to all that Jesus Christ embodied with the traditional lechon or roast suckling pig and pansit (noodles) as centerpieces.

    Christmas time is also the best time to enjoy all kinds of fireworks. We also have the noche buena or the meal served at midnight. Traditionally, it is for after the family comes back from the midnight mass.

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