What Julia wrote will make you smile.

We Filipinos are more excited about Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Christmas and New Year’s Day are when we sleep in. The real celebration happens the day before.

Both celebrations start the same way. Early in the morning, families start cooking for the midnight feasts (Noche Buena for Christmas, Media Noche for New Year). This is when the big family gathering happens so we all come together in one house. It’s usually a massive feast with enough food to last to the New Year. I’m not exaggerating. A lot of the things we make (if it’s not easily perishable) get served again for New Year’s Day. Everybody brings food. Everybody eats while cooking.

Throughout the day, people will party harder and make a lot of noise. Videoke machines at every corner. People playing with noisemakers and firecrackers. The party (and noise) builds as the sun goes down.

Then, at midnight, that’s when everything happens. Everybody starts feasting. Fireworks, firecrackers, and noisemakers are in full blast.

When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was my favorite holiday.  We don’t wait for Christmas morning. As soon as the clock strikes 12, it’s morning. That’s when we open our presents.

It’s the same for New Year’s Eve. We stay up until midnight to do different traditions like:

  • Switching on all the lights and making a lot of noise (to ward off the evil spirits)
  • Jump as high as we can (to grow taller)
  • Put on polka dot clothes (to be richer)
  • Serve 13 round fruits (to be richer, again)

But there’s a bad side to all this partying. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are also some of the busiest times for hospitals. So many people are rushed into the ER for fireworks injuries, fights, and heart attacks.

Another thing I don’t like about the parties is the noise. Working while the entire country is making enough noise to trigger an earthquake is hard. Trust me, I’ve tried.

There’s also the clean-up to contend with. When everybody cooks, nobody wants to do the dishes.

Happy Holidays everybody!

Almost makes me want to be in the Philippines for this week…
…but then I’d miss the snow and skiing.  I’ll stick with Utah.