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Pasko na naman! Its the First day of September. The iconic Jose Mari Chan is now on air. And many of the greeting in social media this day ignites the excitement of Filipinos on Christmas all around to globe.

The Excitement in the Air

When the -ber months roll in, a certain kind of magic fills the atmosphere in the Philippines. The country lights up with joy, excitement, and anticipation as the beginning of Christmas approaches. It’s a time when families come together, communities unite, and the spirit of giving and love is felt everywhere you go.

As the cool breeze starts to sweep across the islands, you can almost hear the faint sound of Christmas carols playing in the distance. From the bustling cities to the serene countryside, the Filipino people embrace this festive season with open hearts and warm smiles.

A Taste of Tradition

One of the most cherished traditions during the beginning of Christmas in the Philippines is the Simbang Gabi, also known as the Misa de Gallo. It is a series of nine dawn masses that start on December 16th and culminate on Christmas Eve. Many Filipinos wake up before dawn to attend these masses, and it has become a beautiful way to prepare for the birth of Jesus.

The Simbang Gabi is closely followed by the Noche Buena, a grand feast that takes place on Christmas Eve. Families gather around the table, sharing delicious traditional dishes like lechon (roast pig), bibingka (rice cake), and puto bumbong (purple sticky rice). Even though each family may have their unique menu, the spirit of togetherness and the joy of breaking bread with loved ones is universal.

A Dazzling Display of Lights

When night falls, the streets come alive with a dazzling display of lights. From intricate lanterns called parols to colorful Christmas decorations adorning homes and public spaces, the Philippines embraces the beauty of light during this season. The most famous display of lights can be found at the Christmas Village in the city of San Fernando, Pampanga. Here, giant lanterns illuminate the night sky, captivating visitors with their vibrant colors and intricate designs.

Aside from the Christmas Village, various cities and towns across the country hold their own light festivals, each competing to create the most mesmerizing spectacle. These events attract both locals and tourists alike, as people come together to witness the enchanting display of lights and experience the joy and wonder of the holiday season.

As we look forward to that Christmas celebration with excitement, may the resounding invitation of God rings our ears to respond for His saving grace in Christ Jesus.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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