It was five o’clock in the morning, still dark outside and all were still sleepy head, drowned in their dreams with their

cushy and warm beds, when suddenly a ‘click’ was heard and a banging music started to air… “Kay sigla ng gabi , ang lahat ay kay saya. Nagluto ang ate ng manok at tinola…”

LANTERN'S RAMP. Colorful and dazzling lanterns displayed on the street sides of San Fernado Pampanga.

And everyone was disturbed.

It was November and yet our neighbors tend to be the alarm clock of our barangay as they played Christmas songs every wee time, around 3-5 hours every day. And I couldn’t help but be annoyed. In our home where people have a hereditary insomnia, most probably we’ll not be waking up eagerly just to happily sing along with those songs.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m neither a Grinch nor a naysayer of Christmas. It’s just so unbelievable why most of us do exaggerate the celebration of Christmas. From the cumbancheros a.k.a. the carolers who will knock doors of neighbors after neighbors even as early as September, to the parols and other Christmas decorations hang on the street sides and inside each Filipino homes (although there’s an increase in electric bill charges), it seems so improbable for a belief that behind poverty as our mainstay backdrop, we still got to avail a sumptuous Christmas, by hook or by crook. Even budget is saying a ‘no’ it still a choice of yes or yes.

TRACING THE ROOT

And I found out who is to be blame for this: the Spaniards.

THE CUMBANCHEROS A.K.A. CAROLERS. A traditional way of celebrating Filipino christmas.

A rewind from the past, it was noted that during the second half of the 19th century, Filipino lives were just revolving and carried away by the beliefs of the church which was dominated by the Dominicans at that time, making our country then tagged as ‘amoy-simbahan society’ as they devote their almost every day doing religious stuff. With this, there was no chance for them to have mental activities, leaving their brain cells stagnant and rusty. The tendency which most likely happened was the dependency of the Filipinos to superstitious beliefs even if there were no basis for it.

And apparently, marks of the past remain as Filipino still practiced most of them. And the festive way of celebrating Christmas for example is only one of those. The family bonding, the feeling of excitement every time you open a gift under the improvised Christmas tree, the contagious happiness of cheering for a good life with the tune of “Pasko ay Sumapit’, eating the noche Buena at exactly 12 midnight with prepared special foods that are so rare to see in the daily meal; all of these are just part of the Filipino culture that we couldn’t somehow erase to ourselves, influenced by our past. However, the decision on whether to stick with these traditions or not still depends on us as our persistence is somehow betrayed whenever we see our neighbors have their  liston grilled on their backyard and the 20 christmas lights embedded on their veranda.

 

WESTERN INFLUENCES                                

SIMBANG GABI. One of the ways of celebrating Christmas as well an opportunity for others to date.

White Christmas. One of the biggest fans of this would probably be a Filipino. Despite the fact that even a snow flake could not make it to the Philippines, we are still hoping to have one because of our great admiration to have snowmen on our front door, to the big socks hang on the chimney hoping someone will full it of gifts, to their pine trees with that sweet smell and of course, the fictitious Santa Claus who is a viral all over the world, making him forged everywhere.

Although in US, people there don’t delve so much of their time in celebrating Christmas. They do decorate their houses and gather their family for a dinner but they still have works during the season. Here in the Philippines, we have a looooooong vacation for Christmas, extended up to New Year, like two weeks or so, while compared to west, they even have to go their offices during the Christmas day, considering it as a special day, yet a day for work.

The attitude we have to relax and enjoy the season seems to be the triggering factor why the indolence still got room in

FILIPINO'S CHRISTMAS DREAM. We're longing for it here in our country though it's far from reality.

our system, something that our national hero, Rizal had noticed to us. Public or private schools start their individual Christmas parties as early as the second week of December, letting their students do the planning for the party and scheduling major exams next year (a very nice way of ending the year) making them feel sluggish even as they go back the next year. Instead of a renewed faith and vow to school, they tend to demand for an extension of vacation, becoming so use to the ‘petiks mode.’ And it’s not a good sign.

OBSERVER’S PERIMETER

Behind the twinkling and blinking lights of the different sizes of lanterns on the streets, the Christmas bonus which will be splurged at once just so to say that we’ll have Christmas (a traditional yardstick of Filipino as to who are those who haves and have nots), those who are attending/ dating on the Simabang Gabi or Misa de Gallo who somehow altering the real purpose of it, and the perspective we have that the more we accumulate, the more we have that new stuff to brag, the more we will be happy for ourselves; we are missing the actual thing to be celebrated. Are we getting narrower?

How come we depend the essence of Christmas to ourselves when it fact it’s not all about us? How come we’ve been so inundated with the material things that we are devouring to have when at the first place, it’s not the real deal? Have you ever tried to observe why most of us think of our own sake while forgetting why we have Christmas?

Go back, review.

THE REAL REASON. Let's go back to the real purpose of Christmas, and that is celebrating it with all the glory to Jesus Christ.

Christmas is about the point in our lives we need to celebrate in deem and be thankful for the reason of our emancipation to sin. That baby in the manger is a need of persons who will let him in to their hearts just like what his parents did then before, but no one did. Are you going to do the same thing?

This Christmas, be different.

#

PHOTOS RETRIEVED FROM:

(DEC 13, 2011/ TUESDAY/9:49PM)

http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=giant+lantern+festival+san+fernando+pampanga&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=634&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=RX4Wa0rTgwSbwM:&imgrefurl=http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/escape/2011-travel-planner-362357%3Fpage%3D0,4&docid=raqZSPIS1HUThM&imgurl=http://www.cnngo.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/inline_image_624x416/2010/12/21/IN_San_Fernando_Lanterns_III.jpg&w=624&h=416&ei=LVjnTqq4LIKOmQWn6rCbCg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=554&sig=109161667800630804054&page=1&tbnh=132&tbnw=176&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0&tx=73&ty=89

http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=filipino+carolers&hl=en&gbv=2&biw=1280&bih=677&tbm=isch&tbnid=Y4w89ZnYbn-p3M:&imgrefurl=http://mmdelrosario.hubpages.com/hub/Christmas-Caroling-in-the-Philippines&docid=MOS6o22YxMciGM&imgurl=http://s3.hubimg.com/u/102038_f248.jpg&w=248&h=288&ei=yFDnTpFTh5SIB7WSpdsI&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=193&vpy=116&dur=25&hovh=230&hovw=198&tx=108&ty=135&sig=109161667800630804054&page=1&tbnh=159&tbnw=137&start=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0

http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=simbang+gabi&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=634&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=CR7hUQldUO6w_M:&imgrefurl=http://www.pinoygigs.com/blog/tag/simbang-gabi/&docid=xrg0hGgkGuSB_M&imgurl=http://www.pinoygigs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/simbanggabiwb6.jpg&w=500&h=375&ei=flTnTsDYOMipiAf8mNTgCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=443&vpy=298&dur=3412&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=115&ty=108&sig=109161667800630804054&page=1&tbnh=135&tbnw=178&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:0

http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=white+christmas&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=634&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=_sdqO1RdNs73bM:&imgrefurl=http://frtim.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/white-christmas/&docid=_eeNik5OMX0OXM&imgurl=http://frtim.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/whitexmas.jpg&w=640&h=480&ei=HlbnTvmkC4OTiQfXxfD4CA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=692&vpy=216&dur=1991&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=125&ty=131&sig=109161667800630804054&page=1&tbnh=120&tbnw=174&start=0&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:0

http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=simbang+gabi&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=634&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=1Era0OlkvH5agM:&imgrefurl=http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Cynthia/festivals/philippine_christmas.htm&docid=WUQ5Tg020hK-LM&imgurl=http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Cynthia/festivals/philip15.jpg&w=372&h=281&ei=flTnTsDYOMipiAf8mNTgCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=981&vpy=150&dur=164&hovh=195&hovw=258&tx=181&ty=99&sig=109161667800630804054&page=1&tbnh=136&tbnw=178&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0.

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