Do you know which country celebrates the longest Christmas? Well, it happens to be on the country where I came from and consider home, the Philippines. As early as September, people are already preparing and Christmas songs can be heard playing in most houses and establishments. By the time December arrives, houses are already decorated with beautiful, colorful and brightly lighted Christmas trees, Belens and Parols. Cheerful and wonderful voices of kids (even if they they are out of tunes or inventing the lyrics of songs.. hahaha! guilty of this) singing Christmas carols can be heard from every side of the streets. Vendors selling puto bumbong and bibingka (both are steamed rice cake) can be found everywhere. Filipinos are busy with Christmas parties, family reunions, exchange gifts, charity works and the list goes on. Catholics attend to their traditional 9 days of simbang gabi (night mass) in preparation for the birth of Jesus. On the eve of Christmas, the festive Noche Buena is being served after attending the midnight mass. And then on the most awaited day, Christmas, everyone are just so jolly and merry, sharing and giving their beautiful smiles and warm love. Children are visiting their ninongs and ninangs (godparents) asking for gifts and aguinaldos (money inside a red envelope). The aura and spirit of Christmas can be felt until the 1st week of January which is the Feast of the 3 Kings.
This is the picture of Christmas that I am always looking forward when I was still living in the Philippines. It was in 2012 when I first arrived here in Doha, Qatar to be with my husband and it has been five years since I’ve been celebrating this season away from home. Here in Doha, Christmas is not considered a festive and religious holiday. Well, I understand and respect that because they’ve got their own beliefs and traditions. But despite of that, Christmas can still be celebrated the way you want it. So, here’s a short video of how we celebrated our 5th Christmas away from home.
Click on this link to watch the video: Christmas in Doha 2016
Thank you for watching. Wishing everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.