Sunday, November 1, 2009

How I love November 1st

November is my favorite month not December. December comes in second, which is the month of festivities (gastos), unreasonable interactions and my birth month (gastos and aging), not necessarily things that make me happy. I like it that November is unassuming. This is the month that gathers people to brainstorm and reconnect. Ironically this also commemorates our dead loved ones, that before the living enter the festive holiday cheer, we should remember to pay homage to our dead. Nothing emo about that. It's just proper.

As a kid, I find November more exciting. Endless popcorn and cheese sticks while watching the kick-ass Halloween special of the now defunct Magandang Gabi Bayan. Unfortunately as I got older, their stories became crappier. It is now replaced with various Halloween specials down from Discovery to Disney to Lifestyle Channel to HBO. Trick or treat has become a village and office fad. Halloween became more commercialized banking on the stories and features of ghosts and ghouls that we never tire of.

When adulthood kicked in, then came the dramatic Halloween parties in full production whether in clubs, houses or in restaurants. This is when creativity and boldness are showcased. Enjoying good company of Shredder, Marilyn Monroe or the norm of finding yourself talking to a human McDonald's French Fries. It is a time when costumes, halloween food and designed cupcakes are showcased. Overflowing red wine mimics blood that leave guests in joyous spirit like a celebration after an occult meeting. Halloween has also become an adult fantasy.

But I admit, Halloween tradition is never a chore for me compared to the rest who feel that going to the cramped cemeteries is a burden. I never grew up going to cemeteries every Halloween. My family and I usually spend it at home, with cable, with internet and sometimes inviting a few friends. All our dead is in our respective provinces so we just offer them prayers. Therefore Halloween for me is solemn, for my siblings it's boring.

Halloween also reminds me of the good times. In our house it is a feast without a shortage of food. Every Halloween my aunt would cook her forever Paella Valenciana, fry that crispy pata and get that flavored chicken roasted. My mom would buy desserts and fruits while my sister, depends on the mood,would cook pasta and buy sushi. Call this as an excuse, but we provide feast for the dead and feast for the living. When I was young, I'd peek during the night if the food offered would really disappear, but soon I knew my mom ended up finishing it the day after.

Halloween is always a feast for the senses while Christmas is the feast of spirit and heart. Make no mistake that the bounty and gluttony of Christmas starts on this unassuming day of the dead. November is a month that of guilty anticipation of year ender things to come.

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