Christmas celebrations are about spending time with the family, bedecking the house with Christmas trimmings, and shopping for friends and relatives. On this day, family members spend time preparing food for the big Christmas dinner. Children love to see each other, devote the day playing and sharing gifts that Santa Claus brought.

For GEP Limited’s destination countries the pomp and pageantry of the Christmas season have a twist, take a peek at how it’s done.

“Heri ya Krismasi” from Kenya

Christmas in Kenya is about a reunion among family members and a day of partying.

In larger cities, the shops are not doused with Christmas draping as in the West and Christmas tunes are not your usual medley. Santa doesn’t arrive with Rudolph and his team of reindeers, he is transported by a camel, a skateboard or a Land Rover.

People in cities travel back to villages where the main part of their family lives. This is the only time of the year large families get together, exchange pleasantries, and just have a fun time.

The marketplace is jam-packed with people buying and selling chicken, pigs, goats and other goodies for the bountiful Christmas feast.

On the 24th of December, the parent’s home is adorned with ornaments, flowers, lights and a Cyprus tree serves as the focal point. Presents are spread under the tree. The other members are busy preparing for the sumptuous Christmas dinner.

Kenyan Christians attend the midnight mass to celebrate Christmas. The service has Nativity plays and you can hear the angelic voice of the choir singing Christmas carols and hymns.

After the service, the merrymaking starts. Tons of food flood the table and it will not be complete without the traditional nyama choma, roasted beef or goat, and chapatti, freshly baked African flatbread. People make their own beer and be ready for a sleepless night. People who are still up from all the partying attends the Christmas morning service.

“Maligayang Pasko” from the Philippines

The Philippines has the longest celebration of the Holiday Season in the world, it starts with the “ber” months. On the 1st of September, you will hear Christmas songs on the radio bringing joy to listeners. Several malls begin to decorate their establishments and businesses kickoff the season with sales promos and selling of Christmas wares.

Some companies give out early Christmas bonus so that employees can shop while prices are low and to avoid the Christmas rush. After November 1, All Saint’s Day or Halloween, people embellish their homes with Christmas trimmings and the Christmas tree is put up signaling that Christmas is in the air.

Cash registers are kept busy and the frenzy reaches its peak as Christmas day approaches.

There is the traditional “Simbang Gabi,” masses are held daily as early as 3:00 am to 5:00 am from December 16 to 24. It’s also known as “Misa de Gallo” or “Mass of the Rooster.” Most churches are wreathed with stunning lights and eye-catching parol lanterns. The Nativity Scene or Belen is entrenched at the entrance to remind the faithful that it’s the season for the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.

Afterward, food stalls outside the church serve native delicacies, feast on puto bungbong, bibingka, suman, pandesal, and puto served with tea, coffee or salabat.

The culmination of the Christmas season is the Christmas Eve dinner, Noche Buena, a boodle fight among family members on Christmas goodies like lechon, Quezo de Bola, roast chicken, ham, macaroni salad, menudo, morcon, paella, noodles, leche flan, buko salad and more to fill your tummy. Prepare the selfies and catch the moment as gifts are opened and receivers are delighted with their presents.

On Christmas day be ready for visits from friends and inaanaks, godchildren. Hand out aginaldos, either in money or in kind, and feed your visitors.

GEP Limited wishes everyone all the blessings Christmas and may you have everything that you wished for.

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