How to celebrate Christmas by giving back to your community – the Filipino way.
n the Philippines, Christmas isn’t just a season; it’s a cherished tradition deeply rooted in the Filipino spirit. Filipinos are known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world, marked by warm gatherings, festive decorations, and an abundance of delicious food.
But what truly sets the Filipino Christmas apart is the emphasis on giving back to the community. It’s a time when bayanihan, the spirit of communal unity, shines brightest. This holiday season, let’s explore how you can celebrate Christmas the Filipino way by giving back to your community.
1. Simbang Gabi: The Dawn Masses
One of the most enduring Filipino Christmas traditions is Simbang Gabi, a series of nine dawn masses leading up to Christmas. Attending these masses at your local church or chapel is a way to strengthen your faith and bond with your community.
I2. Pamaskong Handog: Gift-Giving
The act of giving is at the heart of Filipino Christmas. Organize a gift-giving event within your community, ensuring that less fortunate families receive much-needed essentials and gifts for the season.
3. Noche Buena Feasts: Share a Meal
Prepare a special Noche Buena feast, a Christmas Eve meal, and share it with your neighbors, especially those who may be alone during the holidays. This gesture reflects the true essence of Filipino hospitality.
4. Community Caroling: Share the Joy
Gather friends and family for a caroling session within your community. Collect donations, and use the proceeds for a chosen charity or a community project.
5. Parol-Making Contest: Light Up the Night
The parol, a traditional Filipino Christmas lantern, is a symbol of hope and joy. Host a parol-making contest in your community, and decorate your streets with these beautiful lanterns.
6. Hapinoy Grocery: Sponsor a Grocery Run
Consider sponsoring a “Hapinoy Grocery,” where you provide groceries to less fortunate families. Invite the community to participate, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a bountiful Christmas feast.
7. Alay-Lakad: Charity Walk
Organize an “Alay-Lakad” or charity walk within your community. The proceeds can go to local charities, and the event promotes health and camaraderie.
8. Paskong Barangay: Community Celebration
Host a “Paskong Barangay” or community Christmas celebration. Organize games, performances, and a simple feast for everyone to enjoy, strengthening community bonds.
9. Sharing Your Skills: A Talent Show
Spending time with residents at a home for the aged can also involve organizing a Talent Show, where you can share your skills and talents. Whether it’s singing, dancing, or showcasing a particular skill, a talent show can be a delightful way to bring joy to the elderly people. It’s an opportunity not only to entertain but also to create a sense of connection and community, fostering a warm and uplifting environment for everyone involved
10. Tree of Hope: A Message Board
Set up a “Tree of Hope” where community members can hang messages of hope and positivity. This fosters a sense of unity and optimism.
Celebrating Christmas the Filipino way is about embracing the traditions of faith, family, and community. It’s a season of giving, love, and unity. By sharing your blessings and making an effort to uplift those around you, you not only celebrate the essence of Filipino Christmas but also create a brighter, warmer, and more hopeful holiday season for everyone. This year, let’s remember that the true joy of Christmas is found in the act of giving back to our community in the Filipino way. Sa Paskong ito, magkakaisa tayo! (This Christmas, we stand together!)
Images sources: https://traveltriangle.com/blog/christmas-in-philippines/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_the_Philippines