There are so many reasons why our Christmas celebration is particularly special. Aside from the fact that that we have the longest Christmas in the year, we also have the most distinctive way of remembering the child Jesus who has become the centre of our spiritual life. Christmas season is not just an ordinary festivities, it is with a deep religious importance.
When the month of September comes, we could already take notice of soothing Christmas songs playing in the air that are simply delightful to listen. As days slowly crawl to November, stores in the neighbourhood and shopping malls are for sure filled with Christmas items and the mesmerizing glitters of the yuletide accents. Houses start to glow in different attractive colours and hues, major thoroughfares packed with arrays of lanterns of amazing shapes and beautiful patterns, handmade stars hanging on trees, and Christmas trees seen everywhere to the enchantment of everyone’s eyes and spirit. It is certainly overwhelming. In fact, our Christmas preparations are way ahead than the Halloween, and that is truly unique.
Carollers, young and old alike, start to serenade our early evenings with glee, although sometimes annoying especially when we are in the middle of our cooking or laundry, yet most of the times very entertaining and persuasive.
I do miss the happy faces of children that upon accepting a five bill token for their jingle would swiftly run and disappear like a lightning, and after a minute or so return with new band of brothers singing the same pitchy carols. That is why my Nanay would warn not to give big amounts to children because they would keep coming every night.
How could I withstand the longing of the traditional ‘Misa de Gallo’, if I could visibly remember the times I failed to wake up early and is not able to fulfil the nine consecutive dawns of celebrating the Eucharist, which most of us Filipinos are determined to complete to obtain what we wish and yearn on the Christmas. I could also imagine, the numerous Christmas parties that occupy our days and dates, plus the wrapping of gifts for the ‘INAANAKS’, nephews, nieces, or brothers and sisters.
The blissful feeling that you are able to give is invaluable. We don’t even care if our wallets and pockets are exceedingly drained for as long as we are happy and we make our loved ones cheerful too.
Christmas would not be whole without the ‘NOCHE BUENA’ where family, relatives, and friends gather and share the blessings, laid on our tables. Rich and poor, we do have our own way of completing the Christmas tradition. Tables would be stuffed with traditional ‘kakanin’, ‘bibingka’, ‘biko’, ‘puto’, peche-peche, ‘suman, and others, rice is always part of our Christmas banquet, plus ‘Adobo’, ‘Pansit’, ‘Afritada’, ‘Hipon’, and on the side are tempting desserts and salads to our hearts content, and forget not the irresistible whole golden crispy ‘Lechon’ that serves as the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner. Totally mouth-watering.
Christmas does not end on the midnight of December 25, we continue to invite friends to come and share the ‘Lechon Paksiw’, or the loads of left over from the Christmas eve. Some families soak the after Christmas in the beach while others enjoy the karaoke all day, and still some are wrapping the late Christmas presents. There are still loads to the merrymaking ahead, two days after the Christmas dinner, we are busy again thinking of our New Year’s celebration, it’s just an endless festivity during these times.
I miss all these things and I really look forward to celebrate our Christmas in the Philippines in the coming years. Yet I am nevertheless pleased to know that at least the Filipinos have the best Christmas in the world and I will definitely tell my kids how beautiful and memorable it is. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.