It has been 4 years now that I am spending Christmas away from home. I wonder how it is like to celebrate Christmas with the family, friends and relatives. It is the season where friends meet, relatives organize parties, family cook and go to church together. Sometimes I feel so homesick and wish I could be home for Christmas. I missed the tradition -preparation and the rituals Filipino does back home. I miss all the parol, Christmas lights and decors, Christmas caroling, “Simbang Gabi” and Noche Buena. I must admit the actual presence to be in the Philippines is totally different if you are working overseas. So how do expat primarily the Filipinos celebrate Christmas in a Muslim country where Christmas day is just an ordinary day?
Oman is an Arab country but not totally a place where Christmas can’t be felt. Hotels, malls, hypermarket have Christmas designs, decors and music to feel the spirit of the Yuletide season. The Catholic / Christian churches which is in Muscat , the capital of Oman hold Christmas masses to celebrate. The church provides “Simbang Gabi” for Filipinos and there are times they provide Christmas show as well.
But sad to say, not everyone is able to celebrate on the eve of Christmas. Some has to go to work and it is a struggle to ask for a day off. You’re lucky if you will be given an off or consideration on that day. Filipinos usually organize Christmas Eve Party. We do it in a place that can accommodate a large number of persons. This year we had it in one of our colleague’s place. We usually contribute money for the tokens and we bring our own contribution of Filipino foods to the party. There are committees assigned to certain things like arranging the programme, foods, games and sound system. Usually we start it with a prayer, do a programme and have some parlor games so everyone can participate. There are some tokens given to make everyone happy and enjoy the night. Filipinos globally celebrate Christmas the way it is in the Philippines. It is one of the tradition that will be always be on the heart of every Filipino. It is during Christmas time that I miss more my family. It is the time of the year I wish I could spend time to my love ones. After all, it is not about having a grandiose party and receiving gifts, but it is being with the family, relatives and close friends that matters most . But wherever we are, I believe the true meaning of Christmas shouldn’t be missed. Merry Christmas to my fellow Oversea Filipino Workers (OFW)! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!!