Suddenly it’s the end of the year — the liturgical year, that is. It came to a close last Sunday, and suddenly it’s five days before Nov. 29, start of the four-week season of Advent leading to Christmas.
Merry Christmas, all! Christmas too soon? One lady started sending out her gifts on Oct. 1: “I didn’t want my driver to be caught in Christmas traffic.”
The glittery, flirty-pretty Christmas tree is all dressed up. The lanterns have been dusted and given a new shine. “Belen” featuring the Holy Family, angels and beasts, kings and shepherds under the Star of Bethlehem are the final touch.
What’s Christmas without Christ?
In Tarlac, Christmas arrived with “Belenismo,” the province-wide exhibit of Nativity scenes crafted from recycled materials. Despite the long lockdowns, 41 entries were completed for the final round of judging last Saturday. This year’s tableaux look like a tribute to the medical and community frontliners fighting to comfort and save COVID-19 patients; sharing the spotlight, the “plantdemic” that’s obsessing green-thumbed plantitas and plantitos. Prizes up for grabs in different categories range from P100,000 to P300,000, seed money for next year’s entries. In compliance with the Christmas calendar, the exhibit will wind down on Jan. 6, 2021.
On its 13th year under the watchful eyes of the mother-daughter team of Isabel and Isabel Cojuangco Suntay, Belenismo is a reiteration of the traditional belief that there’s nothing like a Filipino Christmas—Pasko, Pasko!
And if Christmas is for kids, violinists 16-28 years old are playing for street children through Childhope Philippines Foundation, with a reminder that there are 70,000 of them in our midst, in our neighborhoods. As Dec. 17 marks the 250th birth anniversary of Ludwig Van Beethoven, ten violinists will perform in five virtual concerts to be released on Dec. 3, 6, 10, 13, and 17. Mariel Ilusorio, pianist and music teacher, is producing the concert: mariel[email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].
The violinists will perform four of the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas, and though the sonatas may not sound like Christmas carols, to hear Ludwig is to hear wonder, awe, and redemption.