PINOY CHRISTMAS (Dec. 21, 2011)
Although I have always been captivated by the Pinoy Christmas merriment, I have never felt nostalgic about its festive grandeur until now. It has been four years since I last experienced the traditional Pinoy Christmas celebration, and I guess there is a truth to the saying, “You never miss what you have until it is gone.” The good thing is, besides, of course, Christmas coming every year, there are also different Filipino communities around the world who always celebrate Christmas in Pinoy fashion. Last weekend my husband and I were very lucky to have attended one here in Florida. As I expected, upon our arrival we were welcomed by the familiar Pinoy hospitality that is characteristic in every Filipino. The pavilion was filled with different Christmas decorations. Every booth was adorned by beautiful Christmas trees and ornaments. I was truly overwhelmed! However, what touched me most was when I saw a parol (lantern) displayed in the window of the bahay kubo (nipa hut). I felt a thug on my heartstrings and an immediate connection as it reminded me of my childhood years in the province, where making the parol was a customary project in our Art class every holiday season. Likewise, I could not contain my joy when I saw my favorite puto-bumbong together with other Pinoy food and delicacies for sale. Immediately I heard my stomach growling in combined delight and anticipation. I was truly awed by the whole atmosphere. I must admit, the whole preparation including the program which consists of Filipino traditional performances, as well as games and exchanging of presents alleviated my longing for the familiar Christmas festivity I so yearned for.
To the Filipino Cultural Foundation Inc., thank you very much for the wonderful Christmas party!
Parol – is a star shaped lantern in myriad of colors that adorn not only houses, but also churches, offices and even streets of towns in the Philippines giving everyone that Christmassy feeling
Puto Bumbong – is a purple sticky rice delicacy waffling stalls as you come out from the church early in the morning from Simbang Gabi (dawn mass)
Parol Dance – is a local dance highlighting on the parol (lantern)
I FOUND THE PERFECT GIFT (Dec. 13, 2011)
The past two weeks I have been grappling with what gift to give Jesus this Christmas. I found it a little bit challenging because, of course, He is Divine. I can reach him through prayer, but I have to listen closely to my heart to hear what He says. The problem is I seemed to be distracted by Christmas merriment the past few weeks causing static, noisy interference, and a difficult connection. With Christmas just around the corner, I started feeling a little bit anxious.
What I forgot to realize, however, was I was dealing with a truly wonderful God. He never forsakes me, and in the midst of my dilemma, He again intervened and let His marvelous power work. While I was talking to my Director last Friday, the answer to my question just came out of my mouth – literally! I was not even thinking about it, but when my Director mentioned the word BFF, the children’s foundation our company supports, suddenly I had a flash of idea. I know that anything for the children will make Jesus happy, so I did not hesitate nor doubt my divine inspiration. Immediately I pledged to give a portion of my salary to the Foundation. It may not look like much, but for me it means not only happily ending my search for Jesus’s gift, but also finding value to what Christmas truly is about.
DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS (Dec. 4, 2011)
I acquired from mother the habit of decorating the house for Christmas as soon as December arrives on the calendar. I have learned to make it a serious business, as I have never seen mother hanging any festive Christmas ornament or trimming without her attentive eye scanning every corner of the house for cleanliness. I have always known mother for being fastidiously neat and organize. However, on occasions like this, her reason for cleaning is more than simply to keep the house pleasing to the eye. For mother, who is a Catholic believer, Christmas is always associated with the “Nativity” or the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is known as the time for renewal of faith and purifying of heart. She believes that the hopeful thoughts of incorporating some Catholic liturgical rituals such as: decorating homes with emblematic icons of the festival such as Santa Claus, Baby Jesus, Jingle Bells and the star of Bethlehem enables her to truly celebrate the real essence of the event.
As for mother’s meticulous cleaning, it may not be cited in the religious ritual practice. Nevertheless, it IS mother’s number #1 important House Rule – holiday or no holiday!
My first December 2011 Weekend Project:
IN SEARCH FOR A GIFT (Nov. 27, 2011)
As I slowly feel the holiday breeze in the air, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit nostalgic. I guess it is because we always celebrate Christmas ostentatiously in the Philippines. Known for our love for fiestas, Philippines is one of the countries where Christmas is celebrated the longest. As a matter of fact, it isn’t unusual in my country to see homes decorated with Christmas ornaments as early as November. As always, it is mark as the busiest season in the year with different celebrations such as bazaars, parties, caroling, and lantern contests. However, as a Catholic, more than the trimmings and festivities attached to the Christmas season, it’s the celebration of the birth of Christ that I truly revel. Thus, now that the month of December is fast approaching, I am again taken by the same question I asked myself last year: what will be my birthday gift to Him?
With just few more weeks to go, I guess it’s no time for dilly-dallying for me…