I grew up as a Roman Catholic, and thus we went to Midnight Mass.
Side note: What the heck has happend to Midnight Mass? Nowadays, it's held at 9, 10 or 11 p.m. It's almost IMPOSSIBLE to find a Midnight Mass at midnight!
I know it's late. I know half the children dragged there are asleep, sleepy or cranky. But c'mon ... it's called MIDNIGHT Mass for a reason!
Personally, I think my parents took us to Midnight Mass in an effort to get us so tired, and to bed so late, that we wouldn't be waking them up at 4 a.m., asking them if Santa came yet. LOL
When we were living on Guam, even if we were living ALL the way in the northern part of the island (distance becomes VERY relative when living here. A place that's 20 miles away is a LONG way away LOL), our parish was Nuestra Señora de las Aguas, or our Lady of the Waters, in Mongmong, one of the central villages of Guam, which also was the home village of the George family, where my dad and aunts and uncles grew up, for the most part.
Side note 2: The Mongmong Church is named after the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that a statue of Mary — made out of ironwood, which is so dense it doesn't float — floated into the bay of Merizo (a southern Guam village), about 300 years ago, escorted by two crabs that had lit votive candles on their backs. A fisherman tried to get it several times, but it kept floating away, until he fully clothed himself (cute, huh? LOL). It was kept in a shed for Chamorro canoes (proas), which is called a Camarin. So on Guam she's known as Our Lady of Camarin, or Santa Marian Kamalen in the Chamorro.
By the way, the above counts as your Random Guam Fact Of the Day!
My favorite aunt lived in Mongmong, within walking distance of the church. I loved her house and spent a large part of my childhood growing up there. Most of the George family fiestas were held there, and like I said we went to church there whenever we lived on Guam.
So wherever on Guam we were living, we would drive to my aunt's house around 10 p.m., dressed in our best Sunday church wear. My auntie would always have some food for us to nibble on. Around 11:30, we'd head to church to make sure we'd have a pew for the family — back then, people really flocked to Midnight Mass; it was always packed full.
The Mass feautured the Mongmong Men's Choir, and to date my thoughts of how certain carols should be sung are based on how they did it. If you could sleep through their rendition of "Gloria in Exelcius Deo," you were TIRED! LOL
Afterward, we'd go to my auntie's house, where we'd indulge in boñelos dagu (yam donuts) dipped in maple syrup. The adults would chat a bit and then it was home, for our Christmas present tradition: We could open one small present after coming home from Midnight Mass; the rest were opened on Christmas Day.
So what about you? What's your tradition?