Column #CM106 It’s that time of the year – Christmas in the Philippines!

Friday, December 24, 2021
Column CM106
It’s that time of the year – Christmas in the Philippines!

Lourence Ilagan lost his match against Raymond van Barneveld at Alexandra Palace in London and by now is probably back home enjoying Christmastime in the Philippines.

But in the predominantly christian Philippines, the Christmas season began some months ago – on September 1. At this time people start to decorate, often with starlike lanterns and lots of colourful strings of lights.  One can hear Christmas songs everywhere and the Christmas markets are opened. Children walk from house-to-house singing Christmas carols and get some small rewards.

All the action might look strange to as Europeans (with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees celsius). There are no real Christmas trees – only some from plastic –  and often palm trees are decorated as Christmas trees.

The actual Christmas time starts on December 16 with the first of nine early morning masses, the first novene, which all begin before daybreak. When one manages to take part in all nine including the last one – the Misa Gallo on December 24 – a wish will be granted, at least that is what one hears.

On December 24, one could say the candle burns at both ends.  It will be a night that no one sleeps as after the Christmas midnight mass the Noche Buena will begin – a big family party, for which even Filipinos who live and work abroad travel back home. The children will stay up all night as well. The street lights will be on all night.  Families, friends, neighbors and relatives will come to visit and are invited to take part in the buffet.

The party will go on until 6:00 am. Those who were not able to visit the Christmas mass will go to church after the party.

The children will get their presents either during the Noche Buena or on December 25, but not from Santa.  In the Philippines the godfather will hand out the presents. But not only the children will get presents…

Everybody one has been in contact with during the year will get a small present, even the postman or the vendor from the supermarket.  In the center of the Noche Buena one will always find the matriarch, often the grandmother, and all children will line up before her to get some coins.  The older a child is the more coins he or she will get.

Of course, in the Philippines the Noche Buena food is always something special. Often a pigling, grilled meat or meat rolls will be served – and noodles and spaghetti can be found, and rice and rice cakes. And often there is some kind of fruit salad made from canned fruit decorated with coconut flakes.

Christmastime will end on the third Sunday in January with the Santo-Nino feast.

Maligayang Pasko to all dart playing and non-dart playing Filipinos – may all your wishes be fulfilled. Hopefully, in the years to come we will see more qualifiers from the Philippines on the Alexandra Palace stage!

 

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Charis Mutschler
The founder of Global Darts, darts journalist Charis Mutschler hails from Marbach, near Stuttgart, Germany. A regular at most major PDC tournaments, a lover of literature, dance and music and cats, Charis' popular writings about darts and its players often transcend the usual. She brings something unique to the chroniclers of the sport we all love.