Like many of you, Christmas is also the most wonderful time of the year for me. The moment the calendar hits the 1st of September, I can't help but get excited with the coming of the holiday season. I bet you've heard many times that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season or celebration in the world as we start it at the on-set of the ber months (September 1) up to the second week of January the following year (the week of 3 Kings celebration).
But what I particularly like about our Christmas celebration is that we were able to put local color to something that is shared by the west. So just like US army jeeps turned into the festive Philippine jeepney, western outfits turned into elegant but cool Barong Tagalog and Baro’t Saya, and ceremonial feasts of saints transformed to colorful fiestas, we were able to tweak White Christmas to Brown Christmas!
Don't get me wrong. I also enjoy the view of Santa Claus, Christmas trees and fruitcakes but I am also mesmerized by the beauty of parols (Christmas lanterns), simbang gabi and the food stalls of bibingka and puto bumbong. It made me realize how creative Pinoys are. Give something totally alien to us and we’ll make something out of it, and make it our own.
In our neighborhood, my Tita Ruby sets up her bibingka stall every December. This is to cater to mass goers of Simbang and to other town folks as well. I could say our Christmas wouldn’t be complete without these delicacies.
We don’t have snow to make our Christmas white but we have something else to make it brown – make it festive, meaningful and warm. And for me, the greatest representation and manifestation of that is our simple but delicious bibingka as well as the parol, belen, simbang gabi, puto bumbong and salabat. And then we also have our own Christmas carols and songs Pasko Na Sinta Ko, Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit, Sa May Bahay, Christmas in our Hearts, Sana Ngayong Pasko, Kumukutikutitap and many more.
While I’m happy and proud of our ways, I am not saying I’m not thankful with what our western brothers have shared with us. I super enjoy it as well! I’m just happy to see how our brown spirit have added flavor to this most celebrated occasion in the world.
So I guess while the world is dreaming of a white Christmas, here in the Philippines, let's also wake up and savor the aroma of Brown Christmas! Let’s experience it all! After all, Christmas is not about the color. It's about Jesus and how his birthday has been shared and celebrated by His people and how it changed, touched and moved families, friends, communities and nations.
Brown Christmas. This makes Christmas more fun in the Philippines and this is the 38th foydi's Catch. :)
Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!