Typhoon-Ravaged Philippines Villages Celebrate Christmas

Filipinos still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan are doing their best to get in the holiday spirit

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I was in Philippines during Christmas Season in 2000. It is said that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world. For where else can you find Christmas carols being played as early as late October, and Christmas decors being taken down only after the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6? Indeed, while songs may mention of snow and sleds, in the Philippines, Christmas has gone beyond a changing of seasons. It has become a state of mind shared by an entire people.

·The Philippines is the only Asian nation in which Christianity is the religion chosen by the people. Christmas celebrations start nine days before Christmas with a mass known as Misa de Gallo. At this mass the story behind the birth of Christ is read from the Bible.

·The Panunuluyan pageant is held each Eve. A couple is chosen to reenact Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.

·Mass is held hourly on Christmas Day so that everyone can attend. Religious services include pastore, or play, based on myth of the birth of the Christ Child. The pastore closes with a star from the upper part of the church sliding down a wire and coming to rest over the church's Nativity scene.

·Christmas celebrations may have evolved from old tribal custom Serenading cumbancheros, or strolling ministrels, end their performances by singing Maligayang Pasko to the tune of "Happy Birthday".

Dr.A.Jagadeesh  Nellore(AP),India