Caroling, carolers

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Thursday, December 26, 2013


THIS tradition among Christians during Christmas has continued across the decades. It is a way of raising some funds for the fun of it, and to awaken in us, and among us, the joy of giving and sharing.

Carolers sing at any time of day or night the happy events of advent, or the arrival of the child Jesus among Christians. And people never tire of giving cash to the singers.

It is during the season that one feels one can freely ask friends and acquaintances for anything they can afford to give. It is during Yule that people are supposed to have their hearts opened to humanity, more particularly among kin and friends.

But there is a difference in the manner of asking and giving. The tradition of caroling and carolers has continued across the decades, and throughout the globe among the Christian humanity.

But carolers in the past had to reckon with the fact that they lived and sang in different milieu and in different times so that some may have to do a sort of
adjusting to the prevailing social environment.

There have to be differences in the social circumstances of living in a particular season of Christmas, and people have to live within the obtaining social and
environmental context.

When I was only in grade school, Christmas was a time to think of apples, and to expect from our stockings that our public school-teacher parents told us to hang by the window in the vicinity of the lighted Christmas tree, to be smelling of apples when we come home after the midnight mass, or in the morning when we wake up.

To us then, the smell of apples was the smell of Christmas, and of having been well-behaved during the whole year.

Also, my mother always had a purse with coins of different kinds for carolers. When the children came--and they always came in groups--two or three centavos of copper coins would be enough for each of them. And the neighborhood kids would be happy.

Today, the neighborhood kids are still happy with what amounts to two or three silver coins in our prevailing times. Decades ago, they were copper centavo coins.

Adult carolers were given either twenty-centavo silver coins, or when they are known to be from respectable civic organizations, either silver fifty or one peso silver coins.

Today, it would either be one peso or five or ten pesos, whichever would suit the groups’ level of respectability in the community. It could even be a hundred-peso bill
today, since we no longer mint gold or silver coins with values higher than a peso.

In any case, the point I wish to emphasize here is the fact that even the matter of caroling and carolers, the time and age has affected context of our social life.

That even the amount and kind of money we give to carolers then and now have also changed with our world and outlook of life.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 27, 2013.

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