Why Filipinos Love Christmas - Deepstash

Why Filipinos Love Christmas

The holiday season is widely celebrated in the Philippines.

In the last decade alone, expectations of a happy Christmas have increased by more than 10%, with 64% of Filipinos saying they expect a happy Christmas in 2007 compared to 77% in 2017.  

In the last decade, expectations of a happy Christmas have increased by more than 10%.

Why do Filipinos love Christmas? Sociologists Dr Cornelio of Ateneo de Manila and Dr Sapitula of UP will tell us.

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1. A PROGRAMME THAT INCLUDES A TALENT SHOW/CONTEST

Pinoy Get-togethers aren’t eat-and-run affairs. Any Pinoy celebration, from annual company-wide Christmas parties to clan reunions, would have a programme which usually includes a prayer, quick opening remarks from the organizer/family head/company, and other what-have-yous before digging into a sumptuous feast

Part of that “what-have-yous” is a talent show/contest in which Filipinos(sometimes begrudgingly) showcase their talent especially if it means getting additional pamasko from the elders or a nice prize from the bosses

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2. The CHILDREN MAKE THEIR ROUNDS OF MANO TO THE ELDERS

Filipinos have much respect for the elders, and pagmamano is one of the many gestures that they do to honor their elders. Normally, it’s done by children of all ages to their grandparents, and to aunts and uncles. 

Filipinos don’t make a beeline for the dining table without first paying their respects to all the older relatives with a mano – hug and kiss on the cheek.

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For Sapitula and Cornelio, the two dimensions are intertwined.  

“They mutually reinforce each other. They’re always connected because there are always commercial implications of religious practices.(S)

While the essence of Christmas is religious in character, a lot of economic activity is spurred because values of Christmas may be expressed economically.

"You don't affirm ties by just saying 'We’re friends.' You really give something as gifts to be able to physically demonstrate the ties still exist,” (Sapitula)

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3. SOMEONE YELLS "PICTURE - PICTURE" EVERY FEW MINUTES OR SO

When in a Pinoy get-together, anytime you hear someone say “picture, picture!”, you better get yourself camera-ready, stat! – lest you end up having a photo of yourself chewing midway or grinning but with eyes half closed. Filipinos wait for no one. So always be ready to put your Next-top-model face on. Smize!

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3. ITS A SEASON THAT ALLOWS FILIPINOS TO SEE THE GOOD THINGS

For Cornelio, this has allowed Christmas to become universally celebrated, regardless of its religious essence.

With the challenges Filipinos face everyday for the rest of the year, how are Filipinos still able to see Christmas as a happy time of the year?

“Many Filipinos are always looking for good things. Christmas is one of those seasons that allow us to see the good things…We're happy when things end right. Christmas is a good way of ending things right, even if it's just ephemeral,” (Cornelio)

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5. CHEESE EVERYWHERE

Sprinkled on spaghetti, rolled up like spring rolls, even mixed in caldereta and buko salad! They even have the big-ass block of Kraft Eden cheese out on the table, all ready for snacking, grating and sprinkling!

Pinoys looooove their cheese, and no party would be complete without it. Filipinos believe that cheese has the power to upgrade any dish it is added to. They put liberal amounts of it on pretty much everything. Even when picture-taking, before the flash goes off, someone yells "Say Cheese" and that would make everyone grin from ear to ear

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4. KARAOKE

Filipinos love to sing, and the existence of a videoke microphone or machine in practically every home is a testament to this. 

At parties and get-togethers, this automatically becomes one of the highlights. Almost everyone takes turns belting out tunes, from classic ballads to angst-ridden pop songs, from KPop to inspiring anthems. Once someone starts, it almost never stops. Videoke sessions last throughout the day and into late night, when the kids are tucked in and the older ones begin drinking and bantering

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Filipinos are a tight-knit bunch. They use any occasion as an excuse to get together and celebrate. The biggest, most important celebration of the year is of course Christmas. It’s such a big deal that preparations begin several weeks, if not months, prior. 

Pinoy Christmas get-togethers are, indeed, worth waiting the whole year for: there’s a seemingly endless supply of delicious and memorable holiday fare, fun and games. Friends, family, and relatives all gathered together in one place.

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“I think more Filipinos are getting richer, so they are expecting a happier Christmas…Purchasing power does not technically kill cultural expectations – it stays there, and I think part of the reason why people are looking forward to it is they have the means to fully abide by cultural expectations of how it's celebrated,” Sapitula

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2. WIDE COMMERCIALIZATION & GIFT-GIVING

Christmas is a happy time of the year because of its commercialization and practice of gift-giving

"The joy of the family is intertwined with the joys of travel, gifts, bountiful feasts, sale.."(C)

The monetary dimension of festivals: people are willing to spend. More so because gifts are expected as a way of reaffirming ties. Gift-giving renews the sense of obligation we have for one another (S)

Since the season calls for spending on gifts, travel, and the celebration itself, those who can afford to celebrate may expect it to be a happier occasion

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- the traditions and the religious practices that mark the season are also what gives Filipinos a sense of ownership of Christmas (Sapitula)

- Christmas is widely celebrated as a time for family. Even OFWs who live and work overseas come home to the Philippines for the holidays

- Christmas is very cultural too. Itd a time when families are reunited. Christmas is not just about the birth of a child as much as it is about the family itself,” (Cornelio)

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1. FESTIVALS, FAMILIES, TRADITIONS

- because its regarded as a festival. There is already the expectation of celebration that sets it apart from other days/seasons of the year(Sapitula)

- Filipinos also celebrate Christmas as a largely religious occasion with over 80% of the population considered Catholic(Cornelio)

- “The positive outlook towards Christmas is partly influenced by the way the Church celebrates it. There's a very positive disposition towards the arrival of Christ. The Filipino's happy disposition is religious

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Festival

A festival is an event that is commemorated for the characteristics or aspects it shares with various religions or cultures.

Moreover, a festival constitutes typical cases of glocalization -- modified imported cultural practices or ideas that conform with the local norms. Festivals were often done to fulfill specific communal purposes, but there are others also celebrate oneness among others. 

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The Psychology Of Exchanging Gifts

According to French anthropologist Marcel Mauss, gift-giving carries many legal, moral, economical and spiritual aspects, and is significant for the whole social fabric. Many ancient cultures follow the intricate rules of gift exchange, which is not a voluntary act, but rather a comprehensive set of rules based on obligation and formality.

If a person does not take part in this obligatory ritual, he or she risks losing respect, moral authority and even wealth.

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