Here’s a tip to children coming from no less than a Roman Catholic priest: Don’t grouse if you failed to see your godparents on Christmas Day to ask them for gifts. You still have until New Year’s Day to hunt them down.
Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said children could still visit their godparents until the end of the “Christmas octave” on Jan. 1.
“We in the Philippines focus on the preparations for the misa de gallo (Christmas dawn Masses) so after Dec. 25, it’s like Christmas is over. It’s not,” Castro said in an interview.
“In the liturgy of the Church, Dec. 25 is just the start of Christmas and we celebrate that for eight days until Jan. 1. That’s what we call the Christmas octave so pwede pang mamasko (we can still ask for Christmas gifts),” he added.
However, Castro said parents should not encourage children to focus on expecting material gifts from their godparents.
“I think in our culture, it began as visits of children asking for the blessing of their godparents and thanking them for standing as godparents during their baptism and giving them the Faith,” Castro said.
“However, it evolved and later gifts were also expected. Unfortunately, sometimes the focus is just on the gifts and not on the spiritual blessing,” he said.
Castro said Filipino children up to 12 years old traditionally visit their godparents after Christmas Day.
“Maybe instead of focusing on the material gifts, we should also emphasize the spiritual blessings that they get from godparents. They might even become the same godparents when these children grow up and get married,” he said.