Santa Claus is Coming to Town: What to Expect as We Welcome the “Ber” Months in the Philippines

ber months in the Philippines

For some countries around the world, the first snowfall signifies the beginning of yet another season, considered to be associated with the impending snowy winter Christmas holidays. But then again the arrival of the festive season for the Philippines, devoid of snow, is the “ber” months. The Philippines, one of six predominantly Christian Asian countries, has been renounced as the world’s earliest and longest Christmas season. Christmas has consistently been exciting. Beginning with the “ber months”, which means the Christmas season has arrived. You may be curious to know what the term “ber” months indicate. Basic sense, these are the four months of the year with “ber” at the end of its suffix. This signifies that the months of September, October, November, and December all fall into the “ber” season. It literally begins on the first day of September, when media programs begin to play Christmas songs, bringing the feeling of the festive season even closer.

Before we discuss anything else, you might be wondering why Filipinos celebrate Christmas earlier than normal. While there is no historical record of an event that established this culture, a basic rationale is that Filipinos enjoy counting the days to big festivities.  The countdown to Christmas in the Philippines commences at “ber” months, three months when September begins. Filipinos foresee Christmas early in order to get themselves ready. Some people find comfort in the thought of the “ber” months because they have something else to turn to, particularly during troubled periods such as the enduring COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Philippines, the “ber” months of 2022 will be clearly distinguishable from those of 2020 and 2021. The world closed down in 2020, turning densely populated sights into empty buildings. The main roads were depopulated, the parties were hushed, and the economy crashed. The “ber” months were depressing, but Filipinos persevered, transforming how occasions and gatherings were hosted by getting online and using the application, Zoom. In contrast, “ber” months of 2021 were much happier, with much more laidback lockdowns — and even though face shields were still required, public gatherings were still completely banned, and most Filipinos were still immune to the disease, resulting in a spike in cases caused by new Covid variants at the beginning of 2022.

Read also: Bria House and Lot: Celebrating Christmas, The Filipino Way

Here is a rundown of what you can expect about the “ber” months in the Philippines:

1. Christmas decorations are displayed everywhere

The busy streets begin to be lined with market stalls selling holiday decorations and firework displays. Holiday decorations have been placed up in some homes at this time of year. The “parol,” a star-shaped Christmas lantern constructed from wood and paper, or metal is the most common Christmas decoration that you would see everywhere.

2. Nonstop Christmas songs and joyful carolings

Even if it is usually considered a laughing matter, the reality about this holiday is that Mariah Carey’s greatest Christmas holiday song, the cheery “All I Want for Christmas is You” and the Philippines’ very own Jose Mari Chan’s more gentle and uplifting “Christmas in Our Hearts,” still overtake most places in the Philippines, particularly major malls and restaurants. Also with bells chiming in each chorus, this subsequently signifies the beginning of the Christmas season. Furthermore, anticipate hearing a lot more wide and varied Christmas music in the months to come as the traditional Filipino Christmas carols, in which young kids are at the frontline of every “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” “Feliz Navidad,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” performance, is on its way. Carolings are comparable to trick-or-treating. Filipino children go from house to house singing Christmas carols in return for a few coins, also known as “aguinaldo,” and they usually sing with improvised instruments such as tambourines made from metal bottle caps, maracas made from coins-filled bottles, and drums made from empty containers.

3. Trending videos and memes about Christmas

It’s really no mystery that memes and videos are highly regarded among Filipinos of all age ranges in an era when social media reigns supreme. As early as August, there seems to be an increase in memes regarding “ber” months, Jose Mari Chan, and Mariah Carey. All through the season, captivating Christmas memes abound, such as experiences with buying presents for nieces and nephews. Younger generations can also make Tiktok videos dancing to Christmas carols like “Jingle Bells Rock”, “Last Christmas”, and “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

4. Christmas street markets and early gift buying

Several businesses have upcoming holiday sales and discounts. To limit the festive rush, Filipino shoppers typically start stocking up on household goods and foods for their Christmas midnight feast, which is called Noche Buena, several months in advance. Some people begin their gift shopping as beginning in September. It is no secret that holiday shopping necessitates a considerable amount of planning and preparation, especially with the culture of accessorizing your homes for the holidays.  During the “ber” months, these three main marketplaces in Metro Manila become the peak season in the Philippines. Divisoria, Quiapo, and Suki Market in Dapitan and Mayon become the hub for purchasing various personalized gift goods as well as holiday decorations of various types and sophistication. During the holiday season, vendors in Divisoria and Quiapo get preoccupied stocking their booths with all kinds of Festive merchandise. The priest preaches on the coming up commemoration of Christ’s coming (the birth of Christ) and the need to be more generous than wanting to take. Whether you are looking for brand-new Christmas lights to change the old ones and some lights and cheery home decor to go with it, or you’re planning to amaze your relatives with baked goods and other Christmas presents, your holiday shopping list is undoubtedly growing each day. Furthermore, with the gift-giving season among Filipinos just around the corner, whether with relatives or coworkers, getting started sooner may be your safest choice.

5. Worsened holiday traffic jams

Along with overcrowded shopping places and street markets, heavy traffic is surely expected during the “ber” months in the Philippines. Even though the movement is restricted, traffic in the Philippines is pretty much inevitable during the “ber” months. To make it possible for more vehicles on the road, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has implemented a postponement of the number coding scheme. Due to truck restrictions, traffic on main highways may be way quicker by December. In summary, Filipinos become crowded and more ill at ease, and streets become heavily crowded with a number of vehicles every now and then. Mostly on weekends and Sundays will you find a bit less traffic, and these three main market places (Divisoria, Quiapo, and Suki Market in Dapitan and Mayon) are currently the most resisted landmarks in Manila.

Beyond the cheery street lights, Christmas music, and endless gatherings, “ber” months in the Philippines is a chance for individuals to prepare and look forward to the most important season in the country.

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