Live Christmas story carrozas depict regaining of fading Christian values

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CITY OF MALOLOS—Christmas story live carrozas which do not only depicts the birth and childhood of Jesus Christ but also gives reflection on the people’s fading Christian values these days paraded in this capital city on Friday which highlighted the lighting up of the Bulacan Capitol Christmas Tree that signals the start of the annual “Paskong Bulakenyo” celebration and tradition.

Fr. Ibarra Mercado, SSL (License in Sacred Scripture), parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church in City of Meycauayan who began and conceptualized the live carrozas tradition ten years ago, in 2013, said through the carrozas, the Church would want to help remind the people who are losing their Christian values during these modern times to regain and practice them again. 

The live carroza of “Flight to Egypt” of Joseph, Mary and child Jesus to flee from King Herod. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Based on the synodality principle of the Catholic Church which is “ living our faith that calls for speaking and listening to one another and the Holy Spirit in order to find a path forward in addressing the issues facing the Church in our day as we work to carry out our mission of making known the Good News of salvation in Jesus”  Mercado said, this year’s carrozas focused on eight stories of Christmas which have a deep significance and relevance in today’s diminishing Christian values. 

The live carrozas are participated in by different sectors—church groups, academe, business and the youth in the City of Meycauayan.

The first carroza was John de Baptist which calls for repentance and washing of the sins. According to the priest, people these days blame their sins and wrong doings to others.  Many lost their sense of sins.  The Cardinal Academy, Inc. prepared the float.

The second carroza is the Wedding of Joseph and Mary. The sanctity of the union vows of a couple are no longer observed and practiced these days, contrary to what is morally upright legal custom and teachings of marriage by the church, Mercado said. The float was prepared by the Commission on Youth, Commission on Social Communication and Ministry of the Altar Servers of the parish.

The “paskong Bulakenyo” Christmas Tree lit up on Friday in front of the Provincial Capitol. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

The third float is the nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ, the “Emmanuel” in a manger in Bethlehem. Emmanuel, Mercado said, means, “God is with us” as we journey in this life going back to our Father in heaven.  It was prepared by St. Anne Academy of Meycauayan. Mercado wants all the people to be reminded of the love of God and the redemption and salvation of mankind through the birth of Christ.

La Virgen dela Leche, the fourth float depicts Jesus being a human and as an infant Jesus.  He was being breastfeed by his mother (Mama Mary). Breastfeeding, Mercado said, dates back during the beginning of times or before Christ and this remains to be the ideal feeding for infants. Mercado hails the Department of Health on its campaign programs on breastfeeding. Mothers should really prefer breastfeeding, he said. The float was prepared by the Commission on Evangelization, Pandiosesis na Sentro ng Katekesis (PASKA), El Shaddai, Pondo ng Pinoy, Bible Apostolate and Bukas Loob sa Diyos.

The fifth float presents the 3 Kings who visit and bring gifts to baby Jesus. The kings recognized Jesus as the only real King and the Shepherd of the people. These days, people should return to Jesus Christ as still the only real King, Mercado said. The float was prepared by the Knights of Columbus, Lay Ministers, Daughters of Mary Immaculate.

The sixth float is the Flight to Egypt of Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus as recounted in the Gospel of St. Matthew wherein Joseph was warned in a dream that King Herod intends on killing the child Jesus.  So, he took Mary and the baby to Egypt for safety. These days, because of wars, political upheavals, coup d’état, famine, poverty, families flee from one country to another affecting the lives of the children.  People who migrates to other country should be reminded that they have the right to return back to their country of origin if the situation gets better. The float is prepared by Botika sa Kanto.

Float seventh is “Slaughtering of 2 year old Jewish Boys”. These are the abuses on children during conflicts and war and loss of opportunities in life making them young bandits, young rebels and victims of sex trafficking and organ harvesting syndicates. Meycauayan College was behind the float.

The eight float represents joy, happiness, peace and prosperity as a live Santa Claus with little children dressed like him depicts the generosity and kindness which are all good qualities of Jesus. Sub-Pastoral Parish Council (SPPC) Medallion and Pandayan 2 prepared the float.

Mercado took the initiative and the inspiration to parade floats with live characters to remind people of the story of Christ in response to the Church call for “New Evangelization”. 

“If beauty queens and movie stars take center stage on the streets during Flores De Mayo and Santa Cruzan traditions in the month of May, why not the people in the community who could play the characters in the story of the birth of Jesus Christ,” he told Inquirer.

The live carrozas began in Sapang Palay, City of San Jose del Monte where Mercado was assigned in 2013.

Gov. Daniel Fernando funds the live carrozas for the past six years.

The rolling of the carrozas precedes the lighting up of the Capitol Christmas Tree led by Fernando, Vice Gov. Alex Castro and all the provincial government officials.

Fernando appeared even more healthier and more inspiring through his message of love, hope, unity and forgiveness.

“This tradition gives every Bulakenyo a felt of the spirit of Christmas because of joy and smiles in their hearts which is my way of expressing my love and gratitude for all of you for your continued love and trust in me,” (Ang pagsisindi natin ng ilaw ng ating Christmas Tree ay simbolo ng pagmamahal, pag-asa at pagpapatawad ng Diyos sa sangkatauhan. Ako ay nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat sa patuloy ninyong pagmamahal at pagtitiwala sa akin bilang ama ng ating lalawigan. Kayo ang nananatili kong inspirasyon at kalakasan), he said.

The event is among the very few wide-open public activities the governor graced and attended after he physically resumed with his works early October.

The governor had to take a few weeks of rest in September after he suffered from exhaustion and dehydration due to the depth of works and activities of the Provincial Government of Bulacan he immersed himself in.

But above all, Fernando said, the only brightest star in all the Christmas Trees in the whole world and the universe is Christ, who is the symbol of love, hope and forgiveness that God bestowed to mankind.

Carollings, street corner’s bibingka and puto bumbong with tsaa (hot tea), children lined up in front of the house of wealthy families on Christmas Day and the “sumang Pasko” with ube halaya and sweetened beans are just among the very common Paskong Bulakenyo traditions.

Vice Gov. Alex Castro spoke about the joy of giving something to the less fortunate especially during this season of love and giving.

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