THE traditional “noche buena” during the Eve of Christmas and New Year’s Day will not be scrapped from our holiday celebrations. It does not matter what food a family serves as long as fun and camaraderie stay.
The original puto bumbong in Luzon, particularly in Laguna where I spent my childhood Christmases with my family, has its unique taste. Cafe Laguna in Cebu does it quite well.
Local and international cuisines have been prepared for the noche buena: ham, pancit or spaghetti for long life; sweet fruits and desserts, like fruit or macaroni salads, for a happy, healthy life; and fresh juices, coffee, tea or chocolates, cakes and native delicacies or pastries.
Yes, “tuloy ang Pasko! Tuloy ang misa de gallo at simbang gabi!” Children will still wait for Santa Claus. Families will gather for noche buena and exchange gifts.
But, it will not be the same. There will be less extravaganza. We will have a space in our hearts to feel for the lonely, tired Covid-19 frontliners, volunteers and survivors. Families will pray heartily together and spread goodwill.
Then we will reflect about the past and look forward to 2021.
I myself cannot think fully. What happens next year? I have never prayed so intently in my life. My Diary is full of past memoirs and future uncertainties. I value my family, work and friends “more than ever!” (title of my first autobiography), and will pray more heartily in my life’s “traces and trails” (title of my second autobiography).
But “hope springs eternal” as long as the Lord is at the center of our lives. We will have extra doses of faith and hopefulness, grit and patience.
So, the “noche buena” will continue to be a good evening of blessings.