19 Posts ’til Christmas – A Cultural Perspective

During my visit to the Philippines when I was 6, I was able to experience how the people observed Christmas. There is a series of masses called Simbang Gabi (“Night Mass”) that are held during the 9 days before the holiday. The people in the area I stayed at with my family would head to church very early in the morning. Basically it was still dark out when the mass would start.

Another part of the holidays can be observed in the decorations. One in particular is the parol. These lanterns are often star-shaped and can be made from different materials such as paper, shells, wood, even metal. They could also be lit from the inside. The earlier versions used candles. These lanterns are an important symbol of Christmas to Filipinos, just as the Christmas tree is to Western cultures.

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One of the parol in my house. This one is made from capiz shells. 

Current versions of the parol use electronic lights, just like the one in the photo. As for Simbang Gabi, the church in my area observes this as well, but the mass time is a bit later in the morning so attendees don’t have to wake up too early.

I’d be interested to know if there’s anything in particular your culture does to celebrate Christmas. Feel free to share in the comments.

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One thought on “19 Posts ’til Christmas – A Cultural Perspective

  1. lancoraperla December 8, 2015 / 10:12 am

    That’s so cute! Here in Germany, kids polish their shoes and leave them outside their bedrooms on the 5th December. Nikolaus comes in the night and fills their shoes with candy, or if the shoe hasn’t been polished, a lump of coal!!

    Liked by 1 person

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