Filipinos light candles of Advent
By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net AS a predominantly Catholic nation, it has become a Filipino tradition to light four candles of Advent during the Christmas season. This year, my family was chosen to sponsor the mass on the lighting of the pink candle, which is a way of celebrating the prophesied second coming of Jesus Christ. I must admit that Filipino traditions can be very demanding. But it has persisted for years because it has been one way of bringing families together. In my case, I was required by my mother to go to Tanay in Rizal – our hometown – to attend a special mass. During the mass, I became part of the procession of the priest, lector and lay ministers. The rest of my family was asked to light the pink candles, while I was asked to read a written prayer prepared by the parishioners. This event reminded me of the days when I was still eager to complete the Misa de Gallo before Christmas. Amid the cold weather in Tanay, I braved the early morning shower to attend the early mass with my mother. During my childhood, I was exposed to such traditions especially during Christmas. But as I listened to our priest during his homily, he lamented about the “Simbang Gabi” as “Simbang Tabi,” a pun that describes how some younger people have used this Filipino tradition as an opportunity to meet friends. Times have changed. Lighting the candle of advent also reminded me of the times when my family got together. Back then we were all complete. However, like most Filipino families today, two of my sisters now live abroad, leaving me as the one only one left to read the prayer. I have a brother but I am not sure if he’s too keen on assuming this role. Nevertheless, our priest reminded me that lighting the candle symbolizes “rejoicing.” Every year, traditions have brought Filipino families together and the lighting of the candle of advent was one of them.
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