Embracing the Spirit of -Ber Months: Early Christmas Preparations Done by Filipinos

Kids in front of colorful lanterns_Filipinos Start to Celebrate Christmas as Early as September

In some places, Christmas is continuously observed throughout the entire month of December and, in some places, into the first week of November. However, in the Philippines, September is the start of Christmas. The term “holiday season” takes on a whole new meaning after four months of celebrations in the Philippines. Let’s start walking through some of the early Christmas preparations we do as Filipinos in this article.

Filipinos around the world mark September 1 as the beginning of the holiday season running up to Christmas. The countdown, which lasts from September to December and is also known as the “Ber” months, is one of the most significant practices that contribute to the world’s earliest and longest Christmas season. The “Ber” months are one of the most anticipated seasons in the Philippines. It’s that time of year when everyone wants to party while enjoying their Noche Buena and Media Noche.

Read Also: Celebrating Christmas, The Filipino Way

Feel the Christmas in the Air

When Christmas spirit is in the air, certain malls and institutions give the idea that the holiday season is just around the corner by erecting their Belen, or nativity scene, and playing Christmas music, particularly Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas song, on the radio. Decorations begin in September for the Christmas season. Filipino families start to buy Christmas decorations and prepare gifts for their loved ones. 

3 Reasons why we start to celebrate the Christmas Season so early

1. It reduces our Christmas anxiety

Many people are now experiencing worry, anxiety, and disappointment throughout the Christmas season, rather than joy. Filipinos takes the lead in holiday planning by enjoying Christmas early during the “Ber” months, which may make an otherwise challenging Christmas season more pleasurable and memorable. Additionally, being conscious of the passage of time during our 100-Day Christmas countdown allows us to minimize our worry and possibly even achieve something.

Finally, our extended Christmas season gives us the “extra time” we need to effectively manage our time, lowering our Christmas worries.

2. Generates a sense of immediacy

Because we avoid the Christmas rush, our early preparations in the “Ber” months allow us to properly plan, organize, and prioritize. People who are highly productive prioritize, plan, and think things through. They appear to finish massive amounts of work in the time that the average person spends socializing, squandering time, and focusing on low-value activities. They work steadily, efficiently, and without interruption. Although a sense of urgency emphasizes a need to act fast, it also expresses a sense of dedication and concentration on what is most important.

Having a clear focus on specific objectives is necessary to convert that emotion of needing to get things done into action that helps finish your Christmas chores. People frequently confuse being frightened with being productive.

3. Ample time to prepare essential things

Being busy at the start of September for Christmas preparations, such as decorating, cooking, and gift-giving, may cause us to overlook the season’s essentials. Faith, family, and friends must always be central to the Filipino Christmas season. Our extended Christmas season provides additional opportunities for religious and family-oriented Filipinos to unite and spend time together. Filipinos are expected to spend Christmas with their loved ones, often returning to their own hometowns. Because of the vast number of Filipinos who work or immigrated overseas, as well as those who live in distant cities or provinces, the extended Christmas season is a time when families look forward to spending quality time together.

Because of the length of the Christmas season, we have plenty of time to plan our Christmas vacation, from booking our flights to working extra hours to save money for “Christmas Aguinaldo.” Our extended holiday season will foster the spirit of generosity, thoughtfulness, and affection for one another, which will peak at the celebratory Noche Buena on Christmas Eve.

Things we can now expect to see as early as September:

Finally, let’s look at some Filipino traditions that make the holiday season during the “Ber” months truly joyful and merry.

1. Parol or Christmas Lanterns

The Christmas season has arrived in the Philippines, where streets are lined with brilliant Christmas lanterns that illuminate houses.

One of the most recognizable images of the Filipino holiday spirit is the Christmas lantern, or “parol,” as it is known locally. Even during the darkest nights, parol has served as a symbol of hope for Filipinos.

When September Christmas comes, parol is typically displayed alongside other Christmas decorations on homes and streets. The Simbang Gabi ceremony, which consists of a nine-day sequence of dawn masses, continues to be associated with the parol. Up until January, when they are customarily taken down to remember the Three Kings and their visit to the baby Jesus, these lanterns are left up. The star that the three kings followed during the Nativity served as inspiration for its design.

2. Christmas Sales and early Christmas shopping

Since September is the start of the Christmas season in the Philippines, many malls and online retailers begin to discount their merchandise. As a holiday tradition, Filipinos shop for Christmas gifts in crowded malls. Between September and December, Filipino workers receive bonuses and monetary presents, which they typically spend on mall sales. It also helps that the ambiance in shopping malls during the “Ber” months is particularly bright and convincing, with joyful carols on speakers and every shop or corner decorated with Christmas ornaments. With the epidemic, these buying habits would undoubtedly be unaffected by the emergence of online retailers where you can safely and conveniently buy Christmas gifts.

3. Christmas Carols

Christmas carols are all over the air throughout the “Ber” months. Jose Mari Chan’s music, continuously played on mall speakers is a mark of the beginning of Christmas Season for Filipinos.

Some folks may be bothered by children knocking on their doors to sing carols. However, Christmas in the Philippines would be incomplete without the sweet and innocent chorus of children caroling. Despite the pandemic, Filipinos were able to do internet caroling. This tradition is wonderful because there are no age limitations. Anyone of any age can begin knocking on your home and singing Christmas carols.

Carols are also enjoyable because they do not have to be perfect. In fact, the more amusing the songs and gimmicks, the better.

So prepare to hear a variety of Christmas carols throughout the holiday season.

4. Complete Christmas Decorations

Along with Christmas carols, you will undoubtedly see dazzlingly bright lanterns and seasonal decorations. For Filipinos, part of the Christmas preparations includes cleaning out old ornaments. September is the start of Christmas in the Philippines, which also signals the start of Christmas decorating. Cleaning out old ornaments is part of the Christmas preparations for Filipinos. For most Filipino families, taking old decorations from a box and rehanging them is a major affair. During this time of year, it is commonly hanging outside of people’s homes and on the streets.

Although the lanterns come in a variety of designs, Filipinos cannot resist including a star. The star-shaped pattern is inspired by the “Star of Bethlehem,” which motivated the three wise men to travel to Jerusalem and brought them to Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem.

Read Also: Best Places to Get the Most Affordable Christmas Decors

5. Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi, a deeply ingrained Filipino culture and tradition, is essential to a Filipino Christmas. Filipino Catholics attend Simbang Gabi, a nine-day devotional series of Masses, as they get ready for Christmas. It is the same as the Misa de Aguinaldo, or nine morning masses, observed in Puerto Rico leading up to Christmas Eve. It is one of the Christmas activities that Filipinos look forward to the most since, in addition to the merry Christmas spirit it brings, it also happens to be the time of year when we may enjoy bibingka and puto bumbong, two Filipino rice dishes associated with the holiday season.

As a whole, it is more comfortable to celebrate Christmas at your BRIA house and lot or condominium, especially when with your family, friends, or loved ones. BRIA Homes is one of the largest real estate companies in the country. Check out more of their affordable offerings for your new home.