Monday, July 5, 2010

Musical Instruments of Philippine Christmas

Christmas in the Philippines, one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia (the other one being East Timor), is one of the biggest holidays on calendar. The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world's longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season lasting up until Epiphany.

In the Philippines, children in small groups go from house to house singing Christmas carols, which they called pangangaroling. Makeshift instruments include tambourines made with tansans (aluminum bottle caps) strung on a piece of wire. With the traditional chant of "Namamasko po!", these carolers wait expectantly for the homeowners to reward them with coins. Afterward, the carolers thank the generous homeowners by singing "Thank you, thank you, ang babait ninyo (you are so kind), thank you!" But sometimes the homeowners won't give rewards, so the carolers sing, "Thank you, thank you, ang dadamot ninyo (you are so selfish) Thank you! or Thank you, thank you, ang babarat ninyo Thank you!

An example of a traditional Filipino carol is a part of series known as "Maligayang Pasko", which was commonly called as "Sa maybahay ang aming bati". More recently, caroling has become a fund-raising activity. Church choirs or youth groups spend weeks rehearsing Christmas carols then draw up a schedule of visits to wealthy patrons in their homes or even corporate (often coinciding with the office Christmas party). These are, in effect, mini Christmas concerts, with excellent performances amply rewarded with an envelope of cash or checks. The choirs then use the funds for goodwill projects. Unlike the traditional children's caroling, the singers do not partake of the earnings, but rather donate their share to the group's projects.

The stamps features musical instruments used in caroling in the Philippines- the drum, tambourine, maracas and guitar. These were issued in December 1995.