Nothing beats a Filipino Christmas, to be honest. From September up till January, Filipinos feel the spirit of Christmas the longest. No, that doesn’t mean we’re on holiday for 4 months, it just means that we value it above any other celebration.
And when one think about Christmas, one can’t really remove the thought of celebrating it with family—or the people that matter the most. For Filipinos, it’s almost the same thing. One can’t call it Christmas unless they’re celebrating it with their families.
But what about for those who are far away from their loved ones, or to those who have lost them? Is it still Christmas, and can they still feel the essence of Christmas?
Yes, probably. They can still feel the spirit of Christmas, and they can still call it that. But, there that unspoken void of loneliness and sorrow that nobody really talks about. And how can they, when everyone else is celebrating such a joyous occasion that’s always called “the most wonderful time of the year”?
When you grow up celebrating Christmas with a large group of people and then you later on find yourself celebrating it on your own, it could be quite a shock. It’s uncomfortable, sad, and can be very much lonely, especially if you’re far away from the ones you love the most.
The feeling of sadness doesn’t sink in unless it’s actually a few days before Christmas. There’s a sense of longing and homesickness, and some say that the first year is always the hardest. Yes, now I can say that it really is hard to be away from your loved ones on such a family-centered celebration.
For 3 straight days now, the feelings of loneliness and solitude have been the most dominant ones in my system. It’s hard to keep it in, especially if you’re really alone. It’s hard to not feel sad when you miss the sense of togetherness that the season brings, or the people you’re used to spending it with. It’s definitely hard when you compare the photos taken when everyone was still complete to the photos they’ve taken without you—that’s when the loneliness strikes the hardest.
Nothing really beats a Filipino Christmas, especially if you’re in a foreign country trying to feel the spirit of Christmas. It feels different, especially when you’re trying to get used to how their traditions are. There’s a disconnect between two cultures even if the way you celebrate it is so similar.
That’s what makes us miss the familiarity of kin in this most joyous season. One can’t really take away the essence of family from Christmas, that’s for sure. Without them, everything about Christmas seems to be so lonely and sad.
I guess that’s what makes the Filipino Christmas so much better than the rest—the happy moments spent with the ones that matter the most (blood related or not), the food, the preparations, and the laughter and love felt when you’re surrounded by the people you feel most at peace with.
For those who celebrated Christmas missing a loved one or two, or for those who celebrated alone, it will all get better. It will soon pass, that’s for sure.
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