The –BER BANG!!!
I was awaken by the blinking lights nearby just a few moments before realizing it was my cell phone. Half-awake, I checked the small clock on my study table beside my bed.. oh it was 12 am. Why does my phone so busy?
Aha! It was no ordinary 12 am.. it’s 12 am of September.. so what? Nah-uh..Not my birthday. It was the start of the –BER month!!! And my phone was flooded to “death” (to bat-empty) with the “Advance-Merry-Christmas” greetings from friends, acquaintances and clanmates (I’m a proud member of the Harry Potter Clan of the Philippines). Oh yeah right.. I almost forgot.. it signaled the “coldest-warmest” days were starting (“coldest” ‘coz rainy days and “warmest” because of the festive atmosphere is yet to come).
Much more greetings welcomed me as I step our classrooms and on the way home, we passed by some establishments starting to put up their Christmas decors. Christmas carols reigned the radio stations and some TV programs flashing the countdown and their joyous ,meaningful and colorful station ID’s
The LOUDER BANG!!
And the December scenarios were far more exciting. A lot more to expect. More hymns of “jinggom bells” (as those kid carolers loudly sang it), more luxurious Christmas decors, the Christmas BONUS for the employees (and sometimes the thirteenth month pay was given that early). Malls were filled by myriads of shoppers. Christmas parties here. Christmas parties there.. and of course the traditional exchanging of gifts.!!
And, well, who would dare to take even just one absence in the “nine mornings”. The Misa de Gallo caused the chapels and churches literally overflowed with people. Filipinos are mostly Catholics so the practice of keeping vigil for nine days consecutively is no rare to most of us. It is the simplest sacrifice in preparing our every hearts to be the manger Christ, the savior. And for whatever reason, it was the only nine days of the year that churches needs extensions and more chairs. The rest of the year, it’s either the churches are filled or just halfway full. The very reason why one priest once included in his homily to celebrate “Misa de Gallo” in all the days of the year. J
And after that nine mornings, the most anticipated “Noche Buena” is prepared after a 10pm Holy Mass. Food was served in abundance to be shared by the whole family in the Christmas eve. Now one thing I’ve noticed is that “last-minute-shopping” thing like buying groceries on the 24th of December believing that because it’s the last day of mall operations before the Christmas break, there would be fewer shoppers, but, alas, I have to fall in line just to get a cart and start shopping and another ages spent to wait for my turn at the cashier. Hahaha. I never thought of the possibility that I have the same belief with some 1000 people. J so I think next time I wouldn’t consider “last-minute-shopping” as a nice choice ‘coz it’s the most challenging choice ever!!! Hahaha.
And starting from the 26th of the month, beach resorts and resto’s would be rarely empty that you’ll have your reservations mostly rejected. This is because those are the common venues for Family Clan Reunions.
The LOUDEST BANG!!!
Aside from the 21 gun salute at the Luneta Park as the Philippines used to celebrate the death anniversary of the greatest Filipino once existed.. the Philippine National hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, fire crackers are already fogging the streets. While traffic jams most likely to occur to the streets where stalls of fireworks and firecrackers are located.
It was not a Filipino thing really, but we derived it from the Chinese. Believing to lure in good vibes and luck and “shoo” away the bad ones. Whatever it is really, the thing there is it made the New Year’s eve more colorful and festive!
And when the clock hits 12am of January, the atmosphere was merrier. You’ll better shut-up for a while; you cannot talk amidst the varying decibels of bangs everywhere! The colorful fireworks display filled the sky and smokes filled the open air. As usual, being superstitious, food is again served in every Filipino table. Even those that are not so well-of, never let their table empty. Otherwise, it was believed to have caused your table be empty for the rest of the year. As for us, we are just six in our family, but we had “thirteen round fruits”, the ham, fruit salad, macaroni salad, buko pie, chocolate cake, pancit bihon, steamed fish, various chocolates, leche flan, beef steak, softdrinks, wine and more importantly, WE HAD EACH OTHER. We offer all these to the New Year, with all the hopes that it will bring the same abundance and togetherness all throughout the year. And we shared the food anyway, to those whoever pay a visit the next day.
Well, it was “one year” after December 31st .. welcome 1-1-11!!!!!!