Like moaning about how the English football season starts earlier and earlier each year, my Mum always used to tsssk when the first mailed Christmas catalogue arrived on her doorstep as early as September. Yet really us Brits don’t get excited about Christmas until December when there’s a proper chill in the air, Oxford Street is aglow with festive lights switched on by a C-list celeb and the advent calendar (preferably of the chocolate variety) is in doors open mode.
8,000 miles away, meanwhile, there is one nation, which is right at home with Chrimbo catalogues doing the rounds circa September. Nowhere celebrates Christmas longer or harder than Asia’s only Catholic country, the Philippines. You’ll spot the early Xmas celebrations by the way Filipino homes and buildings are adorned with beautiful star lanterns, called parol (pictured) coming from the Spanish farol, meaning lantern or lamp.
Carols kick off in September, no kidding, and don’t end till Epiphany. Once the months start ending in –ber, the festive season is in full swing in this wacky archipelago. It is unique and worth checking out though interminable taxi rides in Manila’s legendary traffic listening to ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ in October can be a tad testing at times.
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