Filipinos’ early Christmas song tradition revealed through Spotify

December 27, 2018 - 11:18 AM
Christmas in the Philippines Interaksyon
File photo of a man arranging Christmas lanterns for sale in Manila. (Interaksyon/Bernard Testa)

A study by a data visualization company has revealed that Filipinos start their Christmas celebrations earlier than the rest of the world, as evidenced by the music they play as early as September.

Tableau Public, a data gathering firm that specializes in creating visual representations of their findings, has published its look into Christmas songs played on the music streaming service Spotify by each country in 2018, until December 11 that year.

The findings published on Christmas Eve, December 24, shows that Christmas songs played by Filipino users on September 1, 2018 accounted for 2.73 percent of all Spotify streams that day, the highest in the world.

No other country in the world hit even the 1 percent mark for streams on that same date.

The data also shows that the Philippines maintained a record of above 1 percent up until the height of the worldwide Christmas rush in December 2018, around the same time other countries in the world start blasting their Christmas carols.

Despite its early celebration, the Philippines pales in comparison to Iceland, whose Christmas carol streaming hit the 22.94 percent mark on December 9 and Denmark, who registered 23.28 percent on December 2.

The Philippines’ early turnout in September comes to no surprise as that month, the first of the “ber” months, is unofficially recognized as the start of the Christmas season in the country. Many Filipinos have claimed that the best evidence of this tradition is malls and establishments playing the Christmas carols of veteran singer Jose Mari Chan.

The popular musician and businessman has also been seen spreading holiday cheer as early as September, holding free Christmas concerts and giving autographed albums to some of his fans.

Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts” album is reportedly the best-selling album in the Philippines, with 800,000 copies sold.

In an interview with The STAR, Chan revealed how his popular “Christmas in Our Hearts” carol was conceived, saying he was tapped to write the song and that it originated as a melody he wrote for a high school reunion.