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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Holiday Pause

The Christmas season is a big thing in the Philippines.  As early as September, shops dress up their windows for this holiday already, and some radio stations would start playing Christmas melodies.  Houses though would probably start decorating from the outside in after the weekend of All Saints' and All Souls' Days.

Then starting the 16th of December, the dawn masses would commence, leading up to the Christmas eve mass on the 24th.  This is a novena mass in anticipation of the birth of Jesus.  The Philippines is the only country I know that observe this particular devotion to the Child Jesus.  Although, I have yet to complete the whole nine masses in one season, but according to friends, they feel a sense of accomplishment when they do complete it.  For some, a cup of hot ginger tea and a bite of either or both bibingka (steamed cakes) and puto bungbong (rice cakes cooked from a tube over charcoals) after the mass, is a good enough push for them to wake really early in the morning.

For a typical Christmas eve dinner, usually taken after the mass, there is always the ham and the queso de bola (or a ball of edam cheese) and probably, a pasta or potato salad somewhere.  Other viands would be up to the menu set by family.  In our case, I think we went overboard this year.  Maybe it was the pleasant surprise to have my sister over for an unscheduled visit from abroad.  There were two Tamarind-Roast Chickens, Baked Salmon (both specialties of Heaven's Country Kitchen), Lasagna, a serving of Lechon (courtesy of my Mother) and Salad Greens with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette.  Certainly, we also had the ham and queso de bola.  For dessert, we had a taste of a very British Figgy Christmas Pudding (brought by my sister), and a very Filipino Buco Pandan Salad.

Funnily enough, this Christmas spread was quite easy to prepare.  Everything was cooked in the oven and all we had to do was keep time while enjoying each others' company.  Nothing like an exchange of stories and companionship to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship.  

After all,  this is a good time as any to think of others for a change, and not get caught up in the self-centered world of political correctness.

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat (Merry Christmas to all)!

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