The Longest Christmas Celebration in the World
For most countries, the Christmas season typically starts around the months of November and early December. But in the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated almost one-third of each year, or maybe even more! September marks the beginning of the so-called “Ber” months. Christmas season then begins for the Philippines and ends as late as January of the following year.
During this time, the country with “the longest Christmas season in the world” gets more festive and festive as the days come closer towards Christmas day. Let’s have a look at what the holidays mean for Filipinos and why they start celebrating Christmas four months early.
Festive Fever in September
The “Ber” months, or the months of September, October, November, and December, is a time filled with festivities in the Philippines. The magical spirit of Christmas automatically fills the air as September rolls around, with a countdown of 100 days before Christmas even being shown on various media outlets.
Christmas songs start playing on the radio, holiday promos and Christmas products occupy every store we shop in, Christmas decorations are put up everywhere, and gift-shopping and party-planning have suddenly become the priority. It’s almost involuntary that Filipinos shift into the holiday spirit as the Ber months begin, and the reason for this may just be found hardwired and deeply ingrained into our culture as a people.
The Reason for the Season
Why exactly do Filipinos celebrate Christmas so early? It can be attributed to the Philippines’ strong religious beliefs, where celebrating Christmas gives Catholics a chance to practice their religion which aligns ideally with Christmas traditions (The Belen or a model of the Nativity Scene, Simbang Gabi, etc.). Celebrating the holiday season could also be a chance to get together and spend meaningful time with friends and family, especially loved ones who we have not seen for a long period of time.
Most importantly, Filipinos have always been known to be festive and joyous people, sometimes finding all the excuses to throw parties all year round with each city and municipality having a fiesta of their own. The celebratory spirit has always been ingrained in our DNA, and the Christmas season makes us look forward to family gatherings and grand feasts even more.
The Christmas season in the Philippines is definitely as unique as its culture and people. Filipinos see the holidays as a time of grand celebration as Christmas takes over every street, every mall, every show, and every home as early as September.
As the weeks go by and we draw closer towards Christmas day, we unwrap a truth about Filipinos that is evident within every Christmas song, decoration, and feast; the Philippines is a country that truly values the happy moments shared with those they love the most. Moments that are worthy of the longest Christmas season in the world.