Christmas Lantern "Parol" Made in the Philippines
The Hispanization of the Philippines was inextricably linked to its Christianization. Friars of the various religious orders made sure that parish churches were erected and natives were made to live in close proximity to these churches. To encourage the indios, missionaries enhanced their liturgical rituals with pomp and grandeur. Traditional Christian observance of holy days, especially of Christmas and the fiesta, was celebrated with elaborate prayers, processions and re-enactments accompanied by feasts and merriment not unlike those observed in Madrid or Barcelona. One such traditional commemoration is the delightful
Called pananawagan, panunuluyan, pananapatan, Solomon, or o kagharong in the various provinces of the Philippines, this remarkable Christian tradition is an elaborate re-enactment of the events surrounding Joseph and Maryís journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search for lodging on the eve of the birth of Jesus. After dark on Christmas eve, the pageant is performed on the streets by actors representing Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Together they call on pre-designated homes, chanting an old traditional song to awaken the master of the house to ask lodging for Mary. They are turned away by the homeowners also in song. Just before midnight, the holy couple find their way to the parish church where a simulated manger has been erected. The crescendo of this drama reaches its apex with the birth of Jesus at midnight, climaxed with the Misa de Gallo, replete with songs of hallelujah and Christmas carols. Amid ringing bells and blowing whistles, devout worshippers flock to the church to celebrate Christendomís most famous mass. Following mass, families return to their homes for a tremendous dinner of traditional Filipino delicacies.
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