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Five Filipino Christmas traditions we *might* miss this year

Life is unpredictable (if that hasn’t sunk into you yet). This year was full of surprises and mostly, not in a good way. Who would’ve thought that we’d be entering a new decade this way. And it doesn’t help that Filipinos have the longest Holiday celebrations. We mostly feel the spirit of Christmas right at the start of September (cue Jose Mari Chan memes in our news feeds) and I can’t help but wonder how we’ll be spending our Christmas this year––especially since we’re technically still on quarantine until the end of the month. Will we also be spending our most waited holiday through Zoom? Though it is the new way of catching up and seeing your loved ones, there is nothing better than seeing them face to face and handing them our well-thought of gifts. We’ve listed down some traditions we *might* miss this year––because even if we flatten the curve in the next few months, it’s still better to be safe than sorry and ditch the yearl.

1. Christmas parties

(c) Jonas Ian Escanillan

We are known for our big, loud Christmas parties––plural because we don’t have just one. We have a Christmas party in school or work, one with friends, another with a different set of friends, with the whole clan, and of course with our immediate family. This year, we might want to skip out on planning (and attending) physical parties just to be safe and sure especially if the awaited vaccine is still not available during that time. At this point, what’s another Zoom meeting anyway?

2. Caroling from house to house

(c) m3comms.com

I will surely miss hearing kids and choirs singing from house to house this year. If you’re younger and want to sing for your ninangs and ninongs, ask mom or dad to film and send it to them. This is a good way to make them feel special and loved and, who knows, you might receive a digital angpao!

3. Concerts

(c) Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

You might have to break your streak of physically attending UST Paskuhan or UP’s Lantern Parade because University traditions, benefit and holiday concerts, and year end parties might be put on hold for now. Though a lot of producers and celebrities have been doing online concerts, there’s nothing better that singing your hearts out and dancing to the rhythm of your favorite music in the company of others.

4. Christmas shopping

(c) primer.com.ph

Don’t you just love and hate going out during Ber months? The unbearable traffic of Metro Manila becomes even more unbearable during this time. I can’t say I’ll miss the traffic, long lines in parking, and the crowded stores but I’ll definitely miss the fulfillment I feel after exerting effort in finding the perfect gifts. I don’t know about you but I personally still prefer shopping in stores than shopping online. But that has to be put on hold for now, everything’s available online anyway.

5. Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo

(c) OneNews.ph

As a nation of (mostly) devoted Catholics, Simbang Gabi is not just a tradition for us, it is also the spiritual preparation for Christmas and commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also seen as a way of requesting blessings from the Lord, as most people believe that if one completes the whole series of nine dawn masses, their wishes will be granted. I’m sure we can order bibingka and puto bumbong online but there’s nothing like having a bite after mass. Same goes with Misa de Gallo, the Mass celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. I’m sure there will be online masses streamed everywhere but the joy, fulfillment, and blessing you feel after attending a mass (physically) is irreplaceable.

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