Filipinos - A Simple And Happy People
The Filipinos are considered a simple and happy people.
This is evidenced by the fact that many Filipinos love to celebrate for any reason even with meager resources.
The cheerful disposition of Filipinos may sometimes surprise and strike the foreigner as a lack of seriousness but upon knowing more about the customs in the Philippines, one would understand that cheerfulness is a part the country's culture.
Family bonds are strong in the Filipinos. If ever there are reasons to celebrate a certain occasion, no matter how insignificant, Filipinos take the opportunity to have reunions and family gatherings.
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These celebrations include not just the immediate family but other relatives as well, such as uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews, nieces, and grandparents.
For example, Filipinos love to celebrate different occasions that include, among other occasions, the passing of a state board examination of a member of the family, job promotions, "bienvenidas" or "welcome back" celebrations (e.g. the arrival of someone after working some time in another country), "despedidas" or "send-off or farewell parties", such as when a family member would live or work abroad, and even town fiestas, where an entire town celebrates the feast of its patron saint.
Filipinos love fiestas. "Fiesta" means feast and this custom was adapted from the Spaniards, who introduced Christianity in the Philippines. The fiesta is an occasion to give thanks for all the blessings that a town has received.
Of course, Filipinos also love to celebrate thanksgiving parties, such as when a family member got cured of a long illness, or simply when a family likes to just thank God for the many blessings that have been bestowed on them.
Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, even death anniversaries, baptisms or christening, Christmas and Easter, are standard celebrations which include the entire extended family.
For example, I would not be surprised if suddenly, all my relatives visit my home during my birthday or when they come over for Christmas.
Celebrating Christmas in the Philippines is probably the longest in the entire world. The spirit of Christmas usually fills the air during the "ber" months -- September, October, November and December, and usually until the first few weeks of January.
Come September, one would already hear Christmas carols being aired over the radio. Malls and department stores would start their "Christmas" sale and some would even go as far as having Christmas decorations by September.
Everyone looks forward to Christmas as this would be a great occasion to visit families in the province, especially if someone spends the entire year working in a distant city. Many companies usually go on vacation beginning a week before Christmas, December 25, until the first week of January.
During the Christmas season, it is not unusual for someone to attend several Christmas parties. There is a Christmas party with office friends, another party with high school classmates or even university batchmates, parties with the members of one's sports club, company sponsored parties, and of course, several family Christmas parties.
During Christmas, I usually watch my diet since there is usually a lot of eating!
One thing you must not miss if ever you are here during the Christmas season is to attend the "Missa de Gallo" or Mass at Dawn.
A Mass is the celebration central to Christianity. Even if you are not a Catholic, nor even a Christian, and even if you don't believe in God, it would be good to attend one of these Masses, or celebrations if you want to call them.
You will definitely learn a lot from this celebration if you listen closely to the things that are said during the mass. If you want to know more about the Filipinos, it would be very helpful if you learn about the Philippine's religious roots, which have been planted by the Spaniards.
The Philippine started to become a colony of Spain in the 16th century and, in spite of the many negative things that many historians have said about this, we Filipinos in fact owe to the Spaniards our civilization.
Since I am not a historian, I will not be able to say much more about our deep and rich history but I must say that a complete understanding of the Filipino culture would mean that one must at least know Christianity and the time when we were a colony of Spain.
Now, let's leave off history and go back to our discussion about celebrations. Another fact that illustrates that the Filipinos love to celebrate is that they always want to dine.
All family gatherings or celebrations are occasions for dining and these celebrations are usually called "handaan". The word "handaan" literary means "preparation".
However, the word "handaan" signifies the preparation that someone has done for a celebration. So, do not be surprised if the word "party" and "handaan" are used interchangeably.
Another remarkable characteristic of the Filipinos is that they are a loving and caring people.
There was once a question posted to Ms. Precious Lara, a Filipino candidate on the 2005 Miss International Beauty Contest on what she thought of the idea that Filipinos abroad have typecasted Filipinos as nannies.
Ms. Lara's answer was, "I take no offense on being typecasted as a nanny. But I do take offense that the educated people of the world have somehow denigrated the true sense and meaning of what a nanny is.
Let me tell you what she is.
She is someone who gives more than she takes.
She is someone you trust to look after the very people most precious to you - your child, the elderly, yourself.
She is the one who has made a living out of caring and loving other people.
So to those who have typecasted us as nannies, Thank you.
It is a testament to the loving and caring culture of the Filipino people.
And for that, I am forever proud and grateful of my roots and culture."
Anyone may look at us as nannies. But we are loving, caring, and happy nannies, so I guess that should be taken by every Filipino as a complement.
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