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Pasko = Christmas

Another reason this blog has not been updated as often as before is that it's the Christmas season. True, Christmas (or Pasko in Tagalog) starts as early as September in the Philippines (i.e., Christmas carols begin to get played on the radio and a few Christmas trees start going up), but it is only in December when schedules, eating habits and exercise routines are thrown out the window.

If you're a foreigner and would like to understand exactly how Filipinos celebrate Christmas—or if you're a Filipino who'd like to know why we do what we do—check out the following articles and/or sites:

GlobalPinoy's "Filipino Christmas Traditions" summarizes what it is that Filipinos do during Christmas by using the lyrics of "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit" (Christmas is Here) as a structure on which to hang the "decorations" (read: peculiarities) that Filipinos like to display at Christmas-time.

"Agrarian Christianity" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 December 2005) and "‘Simbang Gabi’ begins" by Jaime Pilapil (Manila Standard Today, 16 December 2005) are the latest newspaper articles written to mark the start of Simbang Gabi, which literally means "night mass," but in reality refers to masses held before 6 am.

"How to Celebrate a Filipino Christmas" lists ten things that make Christmas in the Philippines truly Filipino, and provides tips and warnings (e.g., "There are more than 30 ethnic groups in the Philippines, so Christmas traditions are quite diverse and cannot be generalized").

MyParol.com is the place to go for information about the parol (lantern), which is probably the most Filipino of all Christmas decorations. The site includes articles on the parol's history, how to make a parol (includes photos and illustrations), and even a free coloring book.

Christmas in the Phillipines (note that "Philippines" is spelled incorrectly) is a site that seems to have been "currently under construction" since 1997. But it is notable for the emails reproduced on the page: one is from a foreigner who lists eight "random thoughts and reflections" that are right on the money, another spells out "Merry Christmas" in Tagalog phonetically, and still another provides a sound file.

Category: The Philippines, Events

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