‘Ber’ months on, countdown starts


By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA — Despite the hard times, here and abroad, Filipinos have reason to smile as the cool “ber” months begin Thursday, Sept. 1, ushering in the joyous countdown to Christmas.

Radio programs begin playing holiday tunes as the world’s longest Christmas season unfolds in the Philippines, Asia’s predominantly Christian nation, as the mornings are expected to get colder in the coming days.

While many wait for the last-minute shopping, usually after the release of 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses in mid-December, many Filipinos begin preparing their lists for holiday shopping and gift-giving.

Still 116 days before Christmas, shopping malls also become busy and crowded with shoppers and onlookers as the “ber” months progress. The atmosphere is expected to become more lively and happy until the stores are finally decked with holiday attractions.

While strong typhoons are expected to hit the country toward the end of the year, the “ber’’ suffix (September, October, November, and December) months, the “ber” period is also the time when policemen step up their campaign against crimes which usually go up with the onset of the holidays. Authorities have asked the public and store owners to be on alert during the season.

Christmas in the Philippines officially starts on Dec. 16 with “Misa de Gallo” or Midnight Mass, a religious activity that lasts nine days.

On Christmas Day, Filipinos wake up early at 4:30 a.m. to hear mass as devotion to the newly born Christ. This tradition has given the Philippines the distinction of having the longest Christmas season all over the world. The season extends beyond the New Year and the Feast of the Epiphany in early January.

Despite the economic difficulties, due to the crisis encountered by many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), many Filipinos remain hopeful of a joyous Christmas celebration.

The Catholic Church always reminds the faithful about the real meaning of the Christmas season. “It’s all about love. God gave His only Son to save us. That’s the meaning of Christmas.’’

“Sana maging masaya ang Pasko natin sa Pilipinas. Yung nakararami at may mga extra, sana mag share ng blessing nila sa mga taong wala at naghihirap. Palagay ko yun talaga ang diwa ng Pasko,’’ Andres Piyar, 40, said. (I hope that we will have a happy Christmas this year in the Philippines and I wish that those who have extra money will share their blessings to the poor. I think that’s the essence of the holiday season.)

Christmas lantern photo cover by Dianne Obviar

Find more like this: Culture, Features

  • Hong Kong says PHL hostage row over
  • US visa-free policy for Pinoys a hoax, PHL embassy in Washington says
  • Filipino Group Awakens Anti-Foreign Anger in Singapore
  • Palace: 100 passengers negative for MERS virus
  • Dane joins Filipinos in bloody Easter crucifixion
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

    Entertainment

  • Lucky guess wins Fil-Am $45,000 on Wheel of Fortune
  • ‘Aswang’ swoops down on American TV, grabs No.1 spot
  • Pinay caregiver Rose Fostanes wins ‘X Factor Israel’
  • ‘My Little Bossings’: The horrible business of show business
  • Fil-Am Eva Noblezada is new ‘Miss Saigon’ on West End
  • MORE...

    Features

  • Watch foreigners speak PH languages fluently
  • Is ‘Intsik’ a racial slur? Chinese-Filipino prof in US says it’s not
  • A family tree: Where are Andres Bonifacio’s descendants?
  • Why the Conflict in the Southern Philippines Is Far From Over
  • Remembering 9/11 with reflection, respect
  • MORE...

    Tourism

  • Philippines waives visa requirements for 7 more countries
  • Carlos Celdran appointed Manila tourism consultant
  • Major int’l publications agree Philippines is ‘hottest’ destination
  • Panagbenga is symbol of rise of Baguio, says Tourism chief
  • 8th friendliest country
  • MORE...

    Sports

  • Manny Pacquiao’s mother appears to put hex on Timothy Bradley
  • Pinoy skater to join 2014 Olympic Winter Games
  • In a Powerful Comeback, Pacquiao Batters Rios Through 12 Rounds
  • Roach closes doors as Pacquiao spars
  • In Philippines, Passion for NBA runs deep
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • Palace shrugs off Singaporean’s demand for separate bus for Filipino maids
  • Online plea launched against Philippines remittance law
  • OFWs and their families to be taught financial literacy, entrepreneurship
  • Bill seeking to ban Pinay helpers from working in HK slammed
  • DOLE plans to end deployment of maids overseas in 5 years
  • MORE...

    Environment

  • DENR to crush seized elephant tusks, drops ceremonial burning
  • British billionaire promotes solar bulbs
  • Locals, biologists face off over Philippine whale shark feeding
  • Dolphin murals spark marine awareness campaign in Philippines
  • Pinoy priest wins world environmental prize
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces