It’s almost December! And at the same time, Christmas is just around the corner. I can’t believe how time flies so fast.
Christmas is one of the most-awaited holidays here. We do it in such festive way. Giant decorations and lights surround streets and alleys. Super sale and huge discounts abound. It’s not hard to find wildly adorned structures, completely filled with Yuletide feels.
Now let me list down the popular activities/food before and after our Christmas:
Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) – mostly practised because of tradition. Catholics and alike flock to churches all across town and hear their early lecture at roughly 03:00 in the morning. Other parishes also hold evening masses, though this is uncommon. After which, you can expect to be greeted with the salivating aroma of native delicacies such as bibingka and puto bumbong, among others.
Bibingka – No Christmas is complete without this. My ultimate favorite: bibingka! This one is traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves. Basic ingredients include rice flour, egg, coconut milk, sugar, margarine/butter and water. Almost always, you’d see a slice of red salted egg and grated coconut as your topping.
Puto bumbong (Steamed glutinous rice) – Another popular in this season. It is colored purple (which looks yummy) which came from a mixture of sweet rice and black rice. It is usually served with butter, sugar and grated coconut. Yep, just like bibingka’s. Another must-try!
Noche Buena – probably the most fun-filled event. What can you expect? It’s dinner time! That dinner before Christmas, that is. Exactly on the evening of the 24th of December. Everyone gathers around the table, ready to dive into an array of delicious foods and desserts. These would include, but not limited to, queso de bola (ball of cheese), spaghetti (or other type of noodle), fruit salad, and the famed ham.
Gift-Giving – or we normally say Kris Kringle or simply exchange of gifts. I don’t know with the others, but we do this after the noche buena. I would usually prepare small gifts for my nieces and nephews, with (kinda) big presents for my brothers, cousins and parents.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!