In Australia, Christmas falls in the middle of the summer holidays. Because it is so hot at Christmas time, there are quite often massive incidents of bush fires across the country. Many volunteers are involved people and property and travel from all over Australia to help in other states. Australians also decorates their houses with bunches of ‘Christmas Bush’, a native Australian tree with small green leaves and creamed colored flowers. In summer the flowers turn deep shiny red over a period of weeks. They hang wreaths on their front and sometimes go out Christmas carol singing on Christmas Eve. People also decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas Trees and Christmas lights. In each State capital there is a large Carols by Candlelight services, there are also huge Christmas pageants in each state capital city. Most towns and cities have festivals and parades and also fireworks display at the local park. Generally, Christmas is celebrated along traditional lines and families often travel great distances. Church is attended in great mass on Christmas Day.
Due to multiculturalism in Australia food can vary. But meals mainly center around the traditional Hams, Turkeys and Plum Pudding. Often these dishes are cooked earlier and served cold. Salads and other summer foods are present as well as food from other cultures.
The Filipino celebration of Christmas is truly unique. The rich and lively blend of culture and tradition is definitely blend of culture and traditional is definitely something to eagerly look forward at this time of the year. Filipinos in Australia can now stop dreaming about the favorite Christmas delights they surely missed. The different Filipino communities are bringing together all the sights, all the sounds, the aroma and flavours of the Filipino Christmas back home. As a way of sharing the joys of Christmas, the Australian Filipino communities brought the Filipino traditional Christmas celebrations like having the “Simbang Gabi” celebrating mass for 9 mornings starting 16th December, Lantern Festival or Parol Making, Cultural Parade, Filipino Christmas Chorals, and Christmas Filipino Food Festival. Celebrating Christmas in Australia for Filipinos has evolved to a more semi-formal setting were everyone is dressed up and join for lunch and Christmas cheers, exchanging the latest status of each and every one and more normal fellowship. The traditional “manito and manita” exchange gifts relives the true Filipino Christmas.
Where ever you are in the world, Christmas is a celebration of love, peace and harmony. May each and every one find that spirit of sharing for those who are in need especially to the victims of the recent natural calamities that hit our motherland- Philippines.