When I was growing up in the Philippines, our family did not have a Christmas tree during the holidays.
What we always had on our windows were home-made brightly lit star-shape Christmas lanterns called parol from the Spanish word for lamp, farol.
(Editor’s note: Since our April 1-15 edition is coming out on Easter Sunday, Canadian Filipino Net wishes to greet our readers A Happy Easter with an article about the observance of Holy Week by one of the most active Catholic parishes in British Columbia with a significant number of Filipino parishioners.)
December 16 is the official start of the religious celebration of Christmas in the Philippines. It begins with a nine-day novena of Masses in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo in Spanish, meaning Roosters’ Mass. It is so called because church bells start ringing with the crowing of the roosters to awaken parishioners to go to the predawn Masses. It culminates on Christmas eve with the midnight Mass.