IT’S EVERYONE’S MOST awaited season: the “Ber” months are here! Amid all the storms that come during this time, it is still the one stretch of the year Filipinos look forward to the most, considering how the Philippines only has two seasons. But hey, the start of these months kicks off the beginning of some of the Philippines’ longest running traditions along with the preparations for Christmas festivities.
There’s a lot to be discussed about, so why don’t we look at some of the things that keep our spirits uplifted?
Holiday Food Traditions
Starting with the basics, the thing that most people look forward to are the lovely dishes served during the cold months of “”Ber”.”
Beginning with biko or the sinukmani for the Tagalogs, these are famous during Undas or All Souls Day celebration, which is considered as one of the most important holidays for Filipinos as families gather in mausoleums, light candles, and bring flowers to honor their beloved departed ones. Yet, the famous biko isn’t the only star of the show when we think of “Ber” Months as sopas, champorado, nilupak, bibingka, and puto bumbong also made their way across the mouths of Filipinos. Indeed, there is always nothing like the sweet and warm taste of the holidays.
Although some of these dishes are served all year-round, nothing beats the taste of it when served during “Ber” months as it embarks the beginning of long periods of holidays. And of course, we all know how we Filipinos can be a sucker for the holiday season.
Jose Mari Chan
Isn’t seeing Jose Mari Chan everyone’s favorite meme? You may be scrolling down through your For You Page (FYP) or your news feed, when suddenly JMC, as he is also known, peeps through the sides of some postings. That sight signifies that we’re already in the “Ber” months, and that Christmas is already right around the corner. His songs are played in malls, jeepneys, and every radio station. It’s like he’s everywhere during this season, much like the Philippines’ very own version of Santa Claus.
JMC might even be considered as the “King of Memes” in the country as he is very much associated with the younger generations due to how the meme culture popularized him using his photos during from the past years and even now. What better way to alert us of the “Ber” Months’ commencement other than the renowned singer himself? If there’s one thing the students can all agree on, it is that their love for the holidays and no other man signals it better than Jose Mari Chan himself. From great songs to great memes, we know that he is our man!
The holiday shopping season is one event that keeps people of all ages excited to purchase from one sale item to another. For students, it’s that time to finally indulge in the savings being nested all year through splurging on new clothes, gadgets, bags, and food. Beyond personal gratification, holiday shopping also holds great significance for families and friendships, creating a meaningful bond like no other. It’s an opportunity for givers to shower their loved ones with gifts, and for student shopaholics to shine with the possibility of even having their purchases covered by their parents!
Moreover, the holiday shopping season is a cherished tradition and an economic powerhouse. It fuels consumer spending, significantly boosting retail businesses and the economy, thereby supporting jobs. The availability of bigger discounts and promotions during this time further stimulates market activity. Ultimately, holiday shopping ensures that people of all ages can experience the joy of receiving and exchanging thoughtful presents during special occasions. Thus, it occupies an important place in both social and economic customs.
Coachella who? The famous San Miguel Oktoberfest, although it didn’t originate in the Philippines, is the most awaited event all over the country because, after all, who doesn’t like to have fun with drinks, right?
The said festival actually originated in Munich, Germany, which is celebrated over two weeks usually ending on the first Sunday of October. The history of Oktoberfest dates back to the October 10, 1810, as the Germans celebrate the marriage between the crowned Prince of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Oktoberfest was then brought to Manila in 1930 with 800 people. Later on, Sofitel Manila and Solaire understood their assignments and got their gargantuan tents in the game. From then on, Oktoberfest and tents always went hand-in-hand.
Stationary Christmas Jingles
“Ang pasko ay sumapit…”—Filipinos already know that the Christmas season is coming in the next few months. When we repeatedly hear Christmas songs sung by Mariah Carey or Jose Mari Chan when grocery shopping in the time of “Ber,” it indeed gives us a two-way ticket down to memory lane, while also evoking that ‘Christmas feeling.’
But these Christmas Jingles aren’t the only ones giving nostalgia; TV networks also play a massive part. Different networks, whether TV or radio stations, participate in this kind of event until it becomes a norm that is played every after segment with the participation of different artists.
As Filipinos, we should never forget that these various cues to signal the start of the “Ber” Months, all in all, leads to the commencement of the Christmas festivities beloved by Filipinos for all-year. Truly the spirit of giving and being kind-hearted is what keeps us, Filipinos, alive and kicking all year!
Cartoons by Jannine Salinas