The parade just started when I got off the SkyTrain station at the Quay.
Motorcades with signs ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Dream, Live, Celebrate’, ‘Merry Xmas’, ‘Only Santa delivers more’ drove carrying Gingerbread Man, Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Santa Claus on top of Tower I, the fire truck engine.
This parade lasted briefly and pales in comparison with memories celebrating advent in the Philippines.
Christmas is a highly anticipated day for me being born as a Filipino steep in Catholic faith brought by Spanish missionaries.
The parade I remember was many statues of Mary called Marian procession consisting at least 90 statues of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, a day-long event in Manila.
Soon after, preparation step in high gear of predawn hours of nocturnal masses. Most adults attend the celebratory mass and thankfully, I was way too young to attend it for I will just fall asleep and be in dreamland than pray.
Christmas carols from door to door is most enjoyable but it comes with a cost. Should the carollers come to our doorsteps and sing, we are obligated to give them a present monetarily.
Neighbors are welcome to drop by anytime during the day to wish us merry Christmas and give us their blessings. Needless to say, the door is always open.
To deck our halls, we hang a ‘Star of Bethlehem’ we call ‘Parol, the star lantern’.
Advent is no longer a time of waiting and longing for me. It is a time for me to see in ordinary ways how baby Jesus manifest in each and everyone.
“If you enter the spirit of Christmas, the child could be born in you. You have a chance to rise above the unconsciousness that is widespread in the world today.” ~ Thomas Moore, The Soul of Christmas