As The Republic of the Philippines has the majority of Catholic and Christian people, the country has the unique and a grand way of celebrating Christmas every year. Filipino families always gather together to eat at the same time. Plus, they use fireworks at the stroke of midnight. It is only one of the occasions that Filipinos use fireworks within the year.
There are a number of Filipino traditions during Christmas. It usually includes gift-giving. The following are the customary recipients:
- Family members. Parents give their children simply money as a gift to them. Sometimes, they give them presents like toys, clothing, accessories, equipment such as cell phones and laptops, shoes, bags and jewelries. Clothing includes skirts, pants, blouses and shirts. And jewelries include a pair or so of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets and watches.
- Friends. Although friends usually exchange gifts. Sometimes, there are richer friends that give gifts to their poorer friends. In example, money, clothes and shoes. Never handkerchiefs though as it is believed that it symbolizes tears.
- Godchildren. Godfathers and godmothers especially in christening give Christmas gifts to their godchildren. And if someone happens to have a dozen, the godparents would give each of them gifts based on their god-children’s ages. If they are still an infant, the godparents usually give them clothes. If they are already a toddler, the godparents give them some toys such as puzzles, boats, toy guns, a set of Barbie doll and cooking equipment toys, car toys and others. And if they are already a teenager, godparents usually give them money to buy themselves presents.
- Street children. Usually if not often, people in the middle class and higher class give gifts to street children. Usually the gifts are composed of used toys and still usable clothing, money and food.
- Poor people. Some business owners give poor people some money every year. The poor people would go to their house early in the morning to join the queue and wait for their turn to be given.
- Orphanage. Some middle class and upper class people would go to the orphanage in different locations of the country to serve by giving out special things like food, toys and clothes, and money to the children at the orphanage.
Some pilgrims would stay in the church and pray overnight. They would walk by their knees from the entry way of the church towards the altar for special intentions on Christmas Day. Some of these intentions are usually to pray for the sick member of the family to be back to his healthy self. In that way, he could join in the family gathering. Some are to give thanks to the Lord for another chance to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And some are to pray for their friends and enemies that may on Christmas Day they are going to spend together and forgive each other.
Christmas Day can sometimes bring back together feudal friends and family members. It is one of the best occasions on how Filipinos spend this day specially.