Love The Holidays? The Philippines Celebrates 4 Months Of Christmas Mania

he colorful light show attracts tens of thousands to one of Manila’s signature highlights this holiday season.
Julie McCarthy/NPR

By Julie McCarthy/npr.org – Sleigh bells, snowy skies and a glowing fire evoke an idyllic Christmas. But the tropics can be just as festive as any wintry holiday this time of year.

The Philippines, Asia’s only Catholic-majority country, boasts the longest yuletide season in the world. September inaugurates the start of what is known as the “Ber” months (September, October, November and December) when parades, parties and concerts crowd the calendar of a season that is as visually resplendent as it is long.

Christmas parades boom through neighborhoods and villages of Manila. A wonderland of fairy lights lines the streets. Grand hotels glisten with extravagant decorations worthy of a czar’s winter palace. On Manila’s Policarpio Street, lavishly lit homes draw carolers and onlookers alike.

“Filipinos love to celebrate … and they want the environment to be colorful,” says 21-year-old marketing student Pau Escobedo.

Churches are wreathed in Christmas splendor, displaying life-size nativity scenes. More than 90 percent of the Philippines identify as Christian, the majority of them Roman Catholic, and consider faith central to their lives.

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