The “Ber” Months Under Pandemic: Let The Christmas Countdown Begin, No Matter What!
Today, 1st of September, is the start of “Ber” months: SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER and DecemBER. Actually, the said months are more applicable to the “Brrr” expression, the feeling of being cold, as in “Brrr, it’s a chilly day!”. Yup, the Ber months are the seasons of the year when we start to feel the cold morning breeze especially in countries in the northern hemisphere (United States, Canada, and the countries in Europe), and even in the warmer parts of the globe such as the Philippines. According to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), the “brrr” shivers will be felt once the blast of cold air or the northeast monsoon from China and Siberia has arrived. Oh well, at least Filipinos have something to thank for, for the “free cold air” from these countries!
Additionally, the Ber months are associated with the forthcoming holiday celebrations primarily Christmas and New Year’s Day. But apart from these, Ber months have other holidays to celebrate as well such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah especially for Americans and Jewish people. I just observed though that in the Philippines, Thanksgiving Day has also been recognized as depicted in the decors of mall stores for commercial purposes, unlike in the U.S. where Thanksgiving is a grand celebration where families gather together enjoying each other’s company, watching parades and football games.
Likewise, most Filipinos have a closer association with the Ber months! It is probably due to the fact that we’re the only country which has the longggggg…est Christmas celebration, kicking in the first day of the first Ber month (September). The Ber months are merry spirit spreaders, they bring fun, cheer us up and make us happy. Personally, I don’t really know why there is some excitement and joyful zest within me even just the thought of having Ber months around – REALLY, till now! There you go… I’m starting to be emo but still happy. I remember those days when we were young when our parents were still around. They were the ones who made us feel that kind of happiness which lingers on and on, we look forward to the related activities of Christmas such as the caroling from one neighbor’s house to the other, the gift giving, the home decorations, and the like. Ooohh, how I wish – they were still here….Ooohh, so much of these heartfelt moments….
C’mon, the Ber months is not only for the young ones, for sure even the older ones, they still feel that oomph factor it brings…the Christmas spirit! How could we not feel the “Christmassy” feeling when when we start hearing Christmas songs being played on air, on the radio? Is that how you feel too? Oh well yes, who doesn’t look forward to the said holiday celebrations anyway?
However, the BIG question marks these days are: How about the Ber months under 2020? How would we behave during the Ber months under the pandemic? The first thought that came randomly to my mind are the critical paths from September to December. Unfortunately since early this year, we have been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 virus, a major health crisis, which has adversely affected the lives of almost everyone in the whole wide world. Will the vaccine or a potential medicine for Covid 19 virus be readily available during the remaining months of the year? That remains to be seen. And even with the pandemic still around, are we gonna snub the jovial mode that the Ber months bring, and mute ourselves or click the sad and angry emojis in ourselves (instead of the happy and smiley ones)?
We have learned lessons from the past months’ challenges, we have learned to live what has been given to us, what is available in our lives. We have learned to adapt to the new normal way of living with the pandemic in the environment. There is no way that we can’t adapt to the new normal way of how to be joyful during the Ber months amidst an adversity. As infections continue to rise, we are enjoined to continue observing the rules on curbing the spread of the virus by social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings such as parties and even the Holy Mass celebrations for the dawn and midnight masses or Simbang Gabi (should there be no vaccine available yet in December). Thus, the holiday parties will definitely be limited to family members and parties with large attendance may have to be shelved.
The Ber months during the period of this pandemic may differ from those years of non-pandemic. Normally, at this time of year, some of us would be saving our money for shopping and gathering gifts for loved ones and friends, planning for events and holiday parties, etc. But with the pandemic, we may have to be sensitive to other people’s needs. Some of our neighbors may now be facing hardships, barely scraping by on their salaries, trying to make ends meet. There are some who have nothing at all for daily sustenance.
In view of this, to make our Ber months happier and more meaningful, we can actually extend helping hands to those people in dire need. Anyway, the forthcoming celebrations is about the season of giving and sharing; it’s the time of thanksgiving for the blessings received. Instead of buying luxurious gifts for our loved ones, perhaps we can share our treasures by donating to credible organizations such as our parish churches, etc. in charge of helping the poor and the disadvantaged. We can also share our time and talents to others by helping those people cope with the ill effects of pandemic, those who are suffering from depression or worse mental health problems. We can also offer prayers to those who have been afflicted by the virus, those families who have lost loved ones because of the virus, those in the frontlines who are now exhausted from their jobs.
Nevertheless, even with the pandemic around, we can still continue to be hopeful that a silver lining is in the offing. We can still be merry and look forward to the joyful holiday celebrations during these Ber months. We can do good works to our fellowmen during these times, and these are some ways of healing the pain and the stresses not only of those affected victims but also ourselves. No matter how hard some of us have been through, we can still afford to smile and be grateful for another life given. No matter how many times we stumble, we are in a world however which keeps on turning, and we can’t just stop but keep going.
Guys, there’s nothing wrong about the Christmas countdown. We can do it in our own humble way. In my case, I will start installing/re-building our golden Christmas Tree again! The forthcoming celebrations particularly the Christmas season is something to be looked forward to – the spirit, love, peace, joy and kindness that it brings. The Filipino way of celebrating the said holidays has already been embedded in our culture and traditions, let’s be merry and join the countdown, no matter what!
Have a good day, y’all! Happy “BER” (Brrrr) months!!!