Why does Filipinos Start Celebrating Christmas in September?
Right before September 1st hit our calendars a few weeks ago, you can already see a lot of Filipinos on social media platforms posting memes, teasing about the arrival of Christmas, using pictures of our national Christmas icon. Is it Santa Clause? Of course, not! It’s none other than Jose Mari Chan.
We are even known to have the longest celebration of Christmas in the whole world! Imagine, we start decorating with Christmas ornaments and singing carols right when September starts. And then, those decorations will be hanging around until it’s time to take them down only after the Three King’s Day, also known as the Epiphany, on January 6th of the next year.
Don’t you find it crazy how we start celebrating so early even if there are still so many major holidays to observe before December arrives? There’s Halloween, All-Saint’s Day, All-Soul’s Day, and Thanksgiving (for us here in the States). Four months of anticipation in comparison to other countries’ one month, and for some, a week or a day before December 25th.
To find out how this tradition started, we set out to fact-check reliable sources on the internet. The result was quite unexpected. To our surprise, nobody knows exactly when this tradition started. Many people assume that we love celebrating Christmas because we are a Catholic nation. That may be true, but Advent starts in December, so it doesn’t explain why we start hearing Christmas songs on the radio in September, right? Advent is the season dedicated to commemorating the birth of Jesus, who is, of course, the real reason why we all celebrate Christmas. In spite of this, a sociologist named Bro. Clifford Sorita explains, in an interview with Rappler, that our Christianity isn’t the factor that mainly influences the tradition.
If not our religion, then are we to blame the business owners, who capitalize on people’s urge to buy gifts during this season? Well, if you look at a marketing perspective, businesses are only responding to people’s demands. Here in the US, you won’t find a lot of businesses starting their Christmas campaigns until after Thanksgiving. It’s because people won’t respond to it as they’re not thinking about Christmas yet. As oppose to Filipinos, who by the time the “Ber Months” arrive, are already excited about it.
In the end, as it turns out, the only reason why we start lighting our Christmas trees so early is because of our enthusiasm about this special holiday. I’m pretty sure we all have memories of Christmas past that we hold dear in our hearts. Filipinos, from all parts of the world, coming home to spend time with the family, everyone preparing different dishes for the Noche Buena, wrapping gifts that will make your loved ones smile—all these things make us anticipate more for Christmas. Evidently, even leading broadcasting stations always end their primetime news telecast with a countdown of how many until Christmas day.
Isn’t it so delightful to hear that the reason why we celebrate ahead the rest of the world is only because we love how Christmas makes us all feel? Is your family in on this tradition despite being thousands of miles away from home? Let us know by commenting below!