Saturday, December 10, 2011

Maligayang Pasko

The Philippines is known for celebrating the world's longest Christmas season. As early as September, Christmas carols can be heard over the airwaves and people start putting up Christmas decoration.

I have been a U.S. resident for more than 4 years and the Christmas holidays still make me homesick. It is the time of the year when I feel most nostalgic, remembering the good times I shared with family and friends. Christmas in my country has more meaning and is more festive. I am sure my sentiments are shared by a lot of my countrymen who are also away from the Philippines.

When I put up my Christmas decoration a couple of weeks ago, I wanted a "Filipino" touch to it. I am glad I found a "mini parol", a tiny Christmas lantern made of wood and sigay shells. I attached it around a sugarcane shaped candle (a cottage industry product of rebel returnees from Negros Occidental, my home province) placed atop a ceramic carabao (water buffalo) pulling a cart of sugarcane cuttings (this ceramic tabletop decor was a going-away present from my bowling teammate and friend).

Something to remind me of home.

A carabao pulling a cart filled with sugarcane cuttings is a typical countryside sight in my country, especially in my home province, touted as the sugar capital of the Philippines. A "Parol" is a traditional Filipino Christmas decor. It is a star-shaped lantern, usually made of bamboo and colored paper.

"Maligayang Pasko" is a Philippine greeting meaning, "Merry Christmas".

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