For Filipinos, Christmas is just around the corner. Yes, you heard it right; and yes, they know that there are still numerous special occasions that come ahead of Christmas. However, when “ber” months, i.e., those that end with “ber,” come, there’s no stopping them—it’s the start of their Christmas season!
What happens in the Philippines when September arrives?
1. Christmas songs dominate the airwaves
There is a fat chance that you will hear the year’s first Christmas carol whichever place in the Philippines you are in as early as the first of September. While driving a car, tune in to your favorite radio station and they might be already playing “Jingle Bells”. Stroll along the mall and you might already hear the very soothing voice of Jose Mari Chan while singing “Christmas in Our Hearts”.
2. Public places are decorated
Parks, highways, and streets are ornamented with Christmas lights and decors. No, it does not have to be expensive. Others do fine with very cheap but elegant decors. It may also be possible that their decors this year are the ones they hang at their home’s windows last year, just hanged in a different manner.
3. Shopping malls become crowded
Maybe because the items are discounted, or the Filipinos are collecting gifts before it reaches a higher price on December, it’s not sure. What is certain is that, although shopping malls become crowded, the ambiance is very joyous and festive—but then again, it’s still three months and 20-something days before it’s December 25.
4. Dawn becomes a favorite part of the day
Even before the religious tradition of attending a dawn mass nine days before Christmas, early mornings starting September become a very wonderful part of the day. A lot of people are already awake – smiling, rice cakes usually “bibingka” and “puto bumbong” are being sold along the streets, and there’s just a fun feeling that everyone and everything are your friends. It’s the nicest time to go to work or school far from the usual stressful commuting day.
In the end, no matter what economical or cultural explanations there are, Filipinos just celebrate Christmas for a long period. Maybe, amid all that they have gone through, they are just looking for an excuse to be happy—and rightfully, Filipinos are entitled to that.
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