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सी, क्रिसमस इस गोने पस्त!

I banged out this editorial for Journal's December 25 issue:

A crossed out Christ in Xmas

When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan hordes took over England in 1645, they went to work with proverbial zeal of zealots in a try to rid England of graft and decadence. As part of their efforts to bring back so-called sanity and order in the land, they canceled Christmas.

English separatists that came to America in 1620 outdid Cromwell. From 1659 to 1681, Christmas wasn’t just skipped but was actually outlawed. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit, probably someone who imbibed too much alcoholic spirits caught trudging, crawling or such behavior under the influence-- he was fined five shillings.

Puritans pointed out the obvious—the Bible doesn’t cite a specific date for the birth of infant Christ. Besides, neither Christ nor his adopted parents Mary and Joseph—include the Vatican-- could produce a National Census and Statistics Office-type validated document fixing December 25 as date of Christ’s live birth.

That means Christ has to present tons of documents and zillions of identification cards (that’s how we do it here in the Philippines ) for a try at late registration of live birth.

That means we can altogether scrap, skip, or throw out the window the celebration of Christ’s birthday.

Or maybe deem such red-letter day as a moveable feast which can be celebrated any given day.

That also means Christmas can be celebrated 365 days a year.

Any day can be Christmas. No need to binge on intoxicating spirits. No need to pig out on holiday fare. No need to ply out garish tinsel and glaring lights that can pump up electricity bills and jack up crude import payments. Christmas can be pared down to its essence--- it’s plain mess sans Christ.

As a word, our pasko connotes the ‘paschal’—specifically the sacrificial spotless lamb slaughtered, its blood painted before the main door of a Jewish household, the carcass broiled without salt and dished out to be partaken by household members on that historic night when the Angel of Death swooped down and harvested every first-born in Egypt . Thus, pasko faintly echoes the Passover feast and wholesale killing.

Interestingly, Christ’s death on the cross coincides with that quaint holiday celebrated by Jews.

Batay sa ganitong katuturan ng katagang Pasko, hayaan ninyong bumati kami sa lahat: Mapayapa at makabuluhang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay sa Semana Santa ang hangad namin sa sambayanang Pilipino!

Uh, Orthodox Greek celebrate Christmas this January 7.


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