Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Page added on December 26, 2018

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I Love Christmas

By Consuelo (Chit) Munar

“Christmas my child is love in action.” – Dale Evan

My experiences of joy, love, warmth, togetherness and goodwill for decades make me feel and think that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Growing up in my hometown, annual family reunions of members of my maternal side of the family during Christmas time that also coincides with the celebration of our town’s patron saint,St. Stephen, on December 26, bring sheer joy to all.

Each year I look forward to our family reunions – a time of bonding with our immediate family members and relatives. As soon as Christmas vacation starts, my cousins and I look forward to the fun times we are going to have in singing Christmas carols in our neighbourhood and to the homes of our kins and relatives around town. Few dimes and nickels we receive from each household become collectively substantial. At home, after the sharing of the bounty, the dimes and nickels are carefully dropped in each respective “piggy banks” made of bamboos. Even in a small way, children takes pride in rewarding great efforts of bringing Christmas cheer.

Two days before Christmas, great activities happen in our household kitchen. The year-long fattened pig, goat and chickens are slaughtered and cooked for Noche Buena, Christmas Day and town fiesta. Everyone dressed in their Sunday best, attend the Midnight Mass, a mass filled with beautiful Christmas hymns. As we reach home after mass, we all sit around a long, hard wood table laden with sumptuous dishes, some with Spanish flavour like Paella. My grandmother, the family matriarch, lead us in giving our deep thanks for the blessings we receive through the year : the great harvest, the safe travel of family members and the good health each one of us enjoy. Love and joy pervade in our home.

At dawn we are awaken by the great sound of a band playing around town. Time again to get ready, dress up to attend the Christmas Day Mass.  As we walk to church, people from all corners of town are heading towards the center of the small municipality where the big, old brick-stoned built Catholic Church sits. Mass at Christmas Day is always very special. The Bishop of the Diocese concelebrates with several priests from neighbouring towns. The Church is always packed with the faithful community of parishioners. After mass, we all gather for picture taking to memorialize our reunion for the year prior to the Christmas dinner.

Celebrating the feast of St. Stephen, the town’s patron saint, is a collaboration between the municipal administration and members of the Parish Council. Schools from all levels participate in literary and musical contests, folk-dancing presentations and lantern parade at the town plaza. Several members of my family especially the children take pride participating in these endeavours. It truly boosted our confidence in demonstrating our talents and skills.

The day of our town fiesta, kins and relatives from other places come and visit us bringing with them abundant gifts of produce from their farms. We get to know them and learn the Family ancestry which we value of its significance. Also families of our tenant farmers join us in our family reunion celebration. We give thanks for their great efforts, their hard work and their dedication in maintaining great harvest each year.

Christmas is love. Love has to be shared to be meaningful. A great smile, a warm hug, being kind, and acts of charity can make a big difference in other people’s lives at Christmas time. I hope to be a true messenger of Love, Peace and Goodwill.


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