December 16, 2007, three in the morning, 15 minutes earlier I heard some group of teenagers passing by our house with excitement, no wonder it is the first day of the traditional midnight mass, I ever so religiously attend few years back before Anastacia was born. How I wish I could finish the nine days/nights/early mornings mass. I believe that wishes come true upon the completion of all nine masses, no miss. I have wishes that came true.
However, everyone has different reasons to go to the mass, teenagers these days use the midnight mass to dress-up and show off though and some use it to be with their crushes and some to make-out at the dark corners of the church premises or while on their way home to buy putobumbong!
Things have changed since then. So many things have changed with how people celebrate the Christmas season or it could be that my perspective has changed.
Aside from the early-morning mass (Simbang Gabi, as we call it) the caroling commenced. I dread the children and their homemade drums, tambourines and maracas. Their “instruments” overpower their voice and if that is what they call singing nowadays, I would rather be called “barat” (miserly) than suffer the minimum of 5 groups of carolers a night (yes, every night!) with the same loud and annoying instruments and noise of all these children! They even sing the same piece they sing at every house the infamous “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” and “Sa May Bahay” , which they fondly sing Sa’ming Bahay meaning our (their) house which is incorrect because they are singing at somebody else’s house and not theirs! They all sound like a broken record! My ears hurt! Yeah I am venting!
During my time, jeeez, I am sounding like my parents already! In the old neighborhood we used to live, I and my playmates go caroling with the same homemade musical tools but we sing a different piece in every house and at least we make it a point to finish a song, but usually we have three songs per house.
The kids these days they sing half the song and when nobody attends them they knock rudely on gates like rushing to get their money (duh!) So, the annoyed home owner would just irritatingly shout “Patawad!” Meaning no, we will not give you a cent for your noise thank you and leave my house alone! Hahaha! Well rudeness begets rudeness does it? Since you were not so generous to the first group of carolers, the news will spread like wildfire among their likes and your house is spared from being bugged all night ! I’m so scrooge! LMAO!
Christmas parties are not so extravagant these year too, too many restrictions, not so big raffles for the party unlike years ago. Christmas decorations like the Christmas lights are lesser, even in the very popular overly lit street in Mandaluyong, the Policarpio street. Our neighbors ask our mom why we didn’t put up lights outside as we usually do, bringing joy to passerby’s. Well it’s not energy saving really but I was traumatized by the theft incident this year that I turned paranoid in putting up decors outside that may lure the thieves more.