CHRISTMAS IN THE PHILIPPINES
The only Asian nation in which Christianity is the religion chosen by the people. Christmas celebrations start nine
days before Christmas with a mass known as Misa de Gallo. At this mass the story behind the birth of Christ is read
from the Bible.
The Panunuluyan pageant is held each Eve. A couple is chosen to re-enact Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.
Mass is held hourly on Christmas Day so that everyone can attend. Religious services include pastore, or play,
based on myth of the birth of the Christ Child. The pastore closes with a star from the upper part of the church
sliding down a wire and coming to rest over the church's Nativity scene.
Christmas celebrations may have evolved from old tribal customs mixed with other influences. Serenading cumbancheros,
or strolling minstrels, end their performances by singing Maligayang Pasko to the tune of "Happy Birthday".
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