Oh how I love Christmas time! Christmas carols, gifts, fireworks and all, but snow.
If there’s such an award as to a place around the world celebrating the longest Christmas, that would be my country. “September 1st” marks the start of our Christmas Season. I can perfectly remember my fond memories 30 years back.
Inside my head, I can hear children’s carols. The children would jump from one house to another to ask for an advance Christmas treat in exchange for their entertainment. Their accompaniment is called a shaker; a musical instrument made up of flattened bottle crowns stringed through its hole in the middle. These children would risk their lives because they could sometimes run into homes with guard dogs on the loose.
I actually have experienced it once, without my mother knowing. You can just imagine how fast me and my friends ran. It was supposed to be fun because we get to raise funds to buy gifts, but the snarling dogs made the nightmare of it. Remembering it now never fails to put a smile on my face.
And then there’s firecrackers. I have this vague memory of an incident where my older brother lighted a firecracker called “watusi“. The firecracker ran wild and got inside our mother’s right ear. Oh how mad my she got. I used to love seeing my brother getting a scold :-).
In the home town of my mother, selling and playing with firecrackers are permitted by the Local Government when the “ber” months start. But here in Davao City, a local ordinance was passed banning firecrackers of any form since 2001. And so we go to my mother’s on Christmas and New Year’s Day where there are display of fireworks.
And then there’s the Christmas decors. I just so love looking at beautifully crafted themed decorations at the malls, parks, and private residences. Even in my home, I never fail to put up my mini christmas tree every year. I throw in lots of colored balls and some glitters and lights. Voila! I got me a very nice Christmas tree. That’s the one in the picture:-) My daughter would want to turn off the fluorescent light so she can appreciate the colored dancing lights on our mini Christmas Tree.
And then there’s gifts. Oh how I love surprises. I could recall how much of a simple mind I have 30 years back. I was so into thinking that Santa Claus really rewards the nice ones. I was told to hang socks at the door because come 12:00 midnight, Santa Claus would come and fill my socks with gifts. I later came to know, it was only my mother who sneaks in at 12:00 midnight. I plan to do the same with my daughter so she’ll behave and not get naughty whole year round 🙂
And then there’s food. Indulgence.
And then there’s hearing mass 9 days before Christmas Day. Here in the Philippines, as a predominantly Catholic country, we have a tradition called the “Nine Mornings“, locally known as “Simbang Gabi“, where all catholic followers hear mass at 5 o’clock in the morning starting December 16 until December 25. It was supposed to be a way of preparing one’s self for the coming of the Saviour; but it became a fad that if you wish for something on the first day, it will come true on the ninth day. I think its just a strategy to lure the followers to complete the tradition. As for me, I never completed the “Nine Mornings“, but still my wishes came true 🙂
And then I dream of snow. It never snow where I live. I can only see it in movies, pictures, and postcards. I just want to feel how cold it can get. I could imagine myself rolling over it. It was a childhood dream that I have not gotten over with. For me, Christmas will always be synonymous with snow. The child in me will always be “Dreaming of a white Christmas“, from a song.