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Filipino Christmas Spirit

Merell Lystra L. Recta

1

Kasadya ning taknaa

Dapit sa kahimayaan

Mao ray among makita

Ang panagway na masanagon

Christmas, an annual commemoration of Jesus’ birth celebrated on the 25th of December by Christians, is a holiday which holds a special place in the hearts of Filipinos. It is not only the giving of gifts or the abundance of special food on the table which makes the celebration so special. The spirit of Christmas for us Filipinos is also focused on charity works and the traditions that we hold during Christmas time. The caroling and the sharing we show makes the Christmas spirit truly Filipino.

Caroling. It is that time of the year when children would hop from house to house singing sweet Christmas songs. Bringing with them their improvised instruments made of recycled materials such as caps and bottles, they would greet each household a merry Christmas, and at the same time hope for a penny as gratitude of their soulful singing. Even if some people get irritated, the spirit of Christmas caroling in the Philippines never ceases.

Caroling in the Philippines proves how family-oriented Filipinos are, considering the fact that relatives would always want to go home for the holidays to spend time with the people they love. It can even be seen in those young kids who gather to plan and decide which house to sing their Christmas carols. Some would claim that what makes being far away from home even more nostalgic for overseas Filipino workers is caroling, or in our Visayang dialect, panaygon.

To remind us of the popular Visayan songs in the country, the Silliman University Campus Choristers organized a comeback concert entitled “Daygon: The Return of Glad Tidings” on the 12th and 13th of December at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium. This concert reminded us of the creativity of Filipinos when it comes to singing carols. The songs performed during the concert were indeed familiar to most of us, since these were commonly sung by our parents or even our grandparents.

Some of the familiar songs that the Campus Choristers performed were “Usahay,” “Rosas Pandan,” “Tuloy na Tuloy pa rin ang Pasko,” “Kampana ng Simbahan,” and of course, the varied versions of “Kasadya.” People could surely relate to these songs, as they might have heard them during their childhood. Even the conductor, Mark Ian Caballes, admitted that his mother sang to him—back when he was still a little child—some songs in their performance.

Sharing. You might have a lot of scheduled Christmas parties for your organizations or group of friends, but even though it is like a heavy rock inside your purse, one would still pursue to join such parties. These parties are special because they do not only serve as a simple Christmas celebration, but it is also a reunion or fellowship among a group of friends who may have not seen each other for many years. No matter how big or small a gift is, or how abundant the food on the table is, Filipinos can really find a way to make the celebration extraordinary. Aside from Christmas parties, some would even prefer to celebrate the holidays by giving gifts to the less fortunate.

You might agree with me that Filipinos celebrate Christmas with special treatment. All those caroling and sharing of blessings truly makes our celebration a special one. You might not even resist to sing along with the Christmas carols.

Merry Christmas!

Bulahan ug bulahan

Ang tagbalay nga giawitan

Awit nga halandumon sa tanang Pasko

Magmalipayon!

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