For Filipinos, Christmas is the most celebrated of all the celebrations marked as red day in the calendar. Some Christmas traditions here in the Philippines may be similar to those of other countries’. But what makes a traditional Pinoy Christmas?
Christmas in the Philippines starts in December 16 with the first day of Simbang Gabi (or pag September na at ikinabit ang Christmas tree sa bahay) and ends after the Three Kings (or pag tinanggal na ang Christmas tree sa bahay). This is what Christmas is like in our family. I wonder what it is like for other Batangueno families?
Ano ang Christmas, Batangueno style? Malamig man dito sa Batangas, ang Pasko sa atin ay kasing init ng bagong lutong bibingka (rice cake) at bagong lagang salabat (ginger brew).
Simbang Gabi. Others attend Simbang Gabi in the evening (around 8pm) while there are some who prefer the mass at 4am (mas feel daw nila pag ganito kaaga). I, myself have been completing the Nine Mornings with my parents for years now. Taon-taon ko kasing inaabangan (bukod sa mga jokes ni Father) kung sino ang mga tatagal hanggang sa ika-9 na araw.
Magarbo ga ang Pasko ng mga Batanguenos? Tama lang. Batanguenos are jolly people. Makuwento. Nabubusog sa malulutong na tawa. Madami man o konti lang ang handa, basta kumpleto ang pamilya, eh (sabi nga ni Master) swaaabe na.
Noche Buena is like ‘the main attraction’ on Christmas Eve. With Batanguenos, nothing’s unusual with the food served on the dinner table. There’s pasta or pancit, sweet ham, cake, kakanin, then a special dish to match rice would complete the sumptuous meal.
And then the kids’ most awaited part – opening of their Christmas gifts. This is a special moment. Their happiness (and even disappointment) is contagious.
On Christmas day itself, the whole family would attend mass in the morning. I wonder if it’s the same in other places but here we have 10pm mass on Christmas Eve before everybody’s Noche Buena. Excited ang mga bagets pag Pasko kasi lahat ng suot nila eh bago. And after mass they would visit the houses of their ninongs and ninangs for their Christmas goodies.
There are families who party on the 25th. It’s like a reunion especially when relatives working abroad come home for the holidays. Syempre, iba pa rin ang Pasko sa Pinas lalo na dito sa Batangas. Snow na lang kasi ang kulang sa lamig ng panahon.
This is Christmas, the Batangueno style. Sa inyo ga?
Sa lahat ng mga Batangueno dito at saan mang panig ng mundo, kami ay bumabati ng isang masaya at mapayapang Pasko at masaganang Bagong Taon!
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