A Memorable One

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My most memorable holiday is Christmas. Christmas Eve in the Philippines is one of the traditions most families celebrate. It is a night without sleep and a continuous celebration moving right into Christmas Day. As December 24th dawns, the last Mass of Simbang Gabi is attended; then preparation begins for Noche Buena, which is a family feast that takes place after midnight. The Noche Buena is very much like an open house celebration. Family, friends, relatives, and neighbors drop by to wish every family member “Maligayang Pasko” or “Merry Christmas”. Guests or visitors partake of the food prepared by my family. As we celebrate Christmas Eve, there were typical foods prepared like, lechon, pancit, barbecue, rice, adobo, cakes, lumpia and etc. There is also an abundance of San Miguel beer, wine, and liquor, which makes the celebration of Christmas indeed intoxicating!

The streets are well lit and are full of activities, the children run in and out of the house to play, to eat, and to play again. The Christmas Eve gathering provides an opportunity for a reunion of immediate and distant family members. In general, the center of a family’s Christmas gathering is always the Lola, who is deeply respected and always present. To have more enjoyment, we have a talent show during Christmas Eve celebration. Children are asked to perform. One might sing a Christmas song, others might play a musical instrument, or others may do a dance. Our celebration continues until about 6 o’clock in the morning. Those who cannot attend Mass the night before will go to the morning Mass on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day is a popular day for children to visit their uncles, aunts, godmothers, and godfathers. At each home they are presented with a gift, usually candy, money, or a small toy. Foods and drinks are also offered at each stop. It is a day of family closeness, and everyone wishes good cheer and glad tidings.

This is all what makes Christmas such a great holiday in the Philippines. Christmas can really be summed up in one word though. The word is innocence. At Christmas time, one can do no wrong. Everyone is innocent. In conclusion, the three things that make Christmas such a great holiday are loving, giving and sharing.


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