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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Christmas’


Hello everyone!

How was your Christmas celebration? I hope you all enjoyed it. We  have the family including my Mom to celebrate Christmas with.  It was certainly a joy  to see Nate again. We celebrated Noche Buena  at exactly 12 am  after attending mass earlier at our village chapel. It was a quiet celebration, we only opened gifts on Christmas day with  my daughter’s family.

They  came here yesterday to celebrate Christmas with us and  I cooked the Christmas dinner.  Left-over food is still good to go for maybe two days more.  It is always nice to see food nicely spread on the table. Right after dinner, Nate entertained us  singing while playing with his guitar toy.  I wonder how he got those words with a song he definitely invented. Most I could hear were the repetitive words, You Are My Best Friend.   He could really sing in style while at the same time making some moves that we all laughed about.  Was that an exercise Nate or a dance?

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate's loot for Christmas...mostly toys!

Nate’s loot for Christmas…mostly toys!

Nissa and  I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

Nissa and I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

 

nate-christmas-16

Nate took this shot using a camera stick.

Those lovely moments sharing with the  family – priceless. Hoping 2017 would be a great year for us.

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Greetings of peace.

Finally completed the 9 novena masses for Simbang Gabi. What a joy! What a blessing!

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I would like to wish you all a blessed, happy and merry Christmas. It’s that time of year again when we share the joys that the season brings – time to be merry, time to make friends with those you have hurt and who have hurt you before, time to feel the joy of His coming.  He is the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Here’s hoping for a bountiful 2017 to all of you. I am grateful for your presence and I am glad to meet those new followers to my blog. Let us make this community a truly happy one.

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Just attended the first Simbang Gabi at our village chapel. What a beautiful celebration of the mass.  Simbang Gabi which means  “Night Mass”,  Misa de Gallo in Spanish or “Rooster’s Mass”, or Misa de Aguinaldo, “Gift Mass”  is a novena of dawn Masses from December 16-24  which is  Christmas Eve.  It’s a lovely and unique celebration of attending masses which is normally held at dawn  but the Church allows it to be celebrated a little earlier the night before like tonight.  We witnessed the lighting of the Christmas tree inside the chapel and the lighting of the  Christmas Belen  before the mass started.

Christmas celebration in our country is replete with these  age-old traditions which we inherited from our ancestors.  Dawn masses are usually held at 4am  and start on December 16.  We wait for the nine days till Christmas day.  You are blessed if you complete the nine novena masses because they say that you can ask and pray for certain favors  and they will be given to you.

It’s actually almost nine days to go before Christmas. what is more fitting in honoring the Christ Child by offering this novena. Sometimes in the frenzy of preparing for Christmas, we simply forget what it means, the birth of our Saviour.  We are more focused on the material side of  celebrating Christmas –  giving gifts, preparing for Noche Buena feast, parties here and there, office parties everywhere and  lots and lots of Christmas decor in our homes and on the streets.

But what is Christmas without all these? Here’s a beautiful meditation on Jesus’ nativity from Pope Benedict XVI.

“In the birth of Jesus,
God comes to us and
asks us to receive
Him, so that He can
be born in our lives
and transform them,
and our world, by the
power of his love.

The
Christmas liturgy also
invites us to
contemplate Christ’s
birth against the
backdrop of his
paschal mystery.
Christmas points
beyond itself, to the
redemption won for
us on the Cross and
the glory of the
Resurrection.”

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Yeay, happy December friends.  December morning breeze. It’s cold outside.

Did you notice? WordPress has again activated the falling icicles in our posts.  It’s lovely, isn’t it?

I’ve been looking forward to December. I guess it’s actually the best month of the year,  a joyful season to celebrate and to bring joy to others too.  Trite as it may sound and no matter how commercialized the celebration of Christmas has become, it is still the best  season to share, to bond with families and friends  and to remember the sacrifice Jesus has made for mankind.  It’s the season of faith, the season of joy and the season of togetherness.

I remember some old Christmas past. Back in the province when we were younger, Christmas was celebrated solemnly, attending the midnight mass and having Noche Buena later. Although it was way, way different from how we celebrate it today, it was the best. Mom would prepare a simple Noche Buena meal  of pancit bihon, suman and hot chocolate. Dad would bring home lots of apples and quezo de bola and a big box of old clothes donated by the high school students of the university (UST) where he used to work and mom would distribute them to our neighbors. My uncle would cook binungey, a delicacy native to Pangasinan. It’s made of  malagkit (sticky rice) and coconut cream cooked in bamboo and is lined up over fire and charcoal.  I think that’s the best there is in cooking rice cakes. You just have to cut the bamboo in half to get the cooked malagkit inside.

A simple fare of binungey.

A simple fare of binungey.

Back then, we didn’t have exchange gifts at home  but Mom and dad would buy us simple toys to play with.  The grade school days were the same when Christmas comes near. We would find a robust tree outside and decorate it with hand-made paper strings, cut colored paper made into small parols and stars, candies  and occasional plastic decor brought by our teacher. Exchange gifts are of simple things like hand towels, bath soap, pencils  or box of candies. We were happy receiving gifts that way.

Nowadays, celebration of Christmas has become a  little  extravagant. Instead of simple gifts, we give gadgets, expensive toys, and the like. Gone are those days when a box of candies would suffice. Christmas wouldn’t be one without ham, pasta, meat recipes, sweets,cakes and what have you.

I hope we would always remember why we celebrate Christmas. I hope we would always remember the little child born on Christmas day.

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Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!  New Year in the Catholic liturgical calendar begins each year with  the season of Advent.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. We went to mass early and it was cold outside. There was this early morning breeze  while we walked  the distance from our house to the subdivision gate and from the tricycle terminal to the church.  Advent season which begins today and  ends on December 24  lets us  prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of Jesus. It is a time of “getting ready” for the celebration of Christmas.

advent-wreath-editThe four candles represent  the four Sundays in preparation for  Christmas. The purple color has traditionally been the color symbolizing repentance and fasting.The first purple candle is the Candle of  Hope, the second one is the Candle of Preparation while the fourth purple candle is the Candle of Love. The third candle which is lighted on Gaudete Sunday is called the Candle of Joy. Pink is a joyful color.

November is coming to a close, gently folding its leaves to welcome the cold December days. Ah, the joys of waiting for Christmas! The joys of waiting for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Yeay, it’s October.

I miss my month-end post and greeting each new month. It was an uneventful September 🙂 To think we haven’t celebrated Nissa’s birthday yet (together as a family).  Today was all bright and sunny, you wouldn’t think there is a coming typhoon and the prediction is, it would be a rainy one tomorrow. Did a little gardening but I was busy the past days finishing a series of five books. I was hoping there would be book six because it was that good.  I am getting tired of seeing the same face of the president on social media but I don’t get tired of commenting about those faux pas and blunders that he utters every day. It is embarrassing. The words are given weight because he is the president and he has an obligation and responsibility to the people he promised to serve.  Opps, sorry, I promised myself I won’t write a political blog for the next six years. It is so stressful and it is barely three months since he occupied Malacanang.

I could still hear Nate shouting I miss you Nonna, happy birthday over the phone this morning. Don’t worry baby, we would see each other soon and we will celebrate no matter how simple it is.

Early this morning, Josef asked about Gunter Kallmann choir because he was downloading Christmas carols on his phone. He made me listen to some jazz versions of Christmas music.  He is the one counting, not me  🙂  Did I say it’s barely 84 days to go before the day?

May your October days be lots of fun and  full of blessings.  Shalom!

 

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Now that I’ve typed the title, I am wondering what is the equivalent of tuýo when you translate it in English. I think it would just be dried salted fish.

Some of you are probably wondering why of all things to blog about, tuýo comes to mind. Here in our country it is a common dish for breakfast paired with fried or sunny side up egg, a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and spicy vinegar as dipping sauce.

We celebrate noche buena  on Christmas eve. After we have attended the evening mass, we wait for twelve midnight to greet each other Merry Christmas   then share  a spread painstakingly prepared earlier on, one full meal that consists of delectable and savory dishes that you only get to see during Christmas, lots of sweets,  fruits  and even a bottle of wine to toast the occasion. This is even more scrumptious than preparing for one’s birthday. After all, Christmas is a special occasion to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Tuýo.

But why tuýo? You have probably heard of it and you might not even like the taste or the strong smell while it is in the frying pan but know what, it is  a necessary viand on the table come breakfast time and that means on Christmas morning.  You no longer want to eat those left-overs from last night’s celebration until probably a day or two but you would welcome the former complete with fried rice with diced left-over ham, eggs, mixed veggies and lots of garlic. Believe me, come Christmas morning it would be the most welcome thing you want to see on your dining table.

Nissa messaged me earlier and she said that she is excited for the coming Christmas. I am too. it would be nice to see them all again. Nate is now three, although he knows the figure of Santa, I don’t think he would associate seeing the image of Santa Claus as someone who fills the Christmas tree with gifts. He will always be excited to open gifts though and rewards you with a hug and a kiss with a shout of “thank you”.

Blessed is
The season which
Engages the whole
World in a
Conspiracy of love.

-Hamilton Wright Mabie

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