Sunday, December 28, 2014

On Christmas caroling

The Christmas season isn't complete without caroling. Carolers are almost always welcome and I am referring to kids singing popular carols and Christmas songs and not the organized, fund-raising types that we turn down most of the time especially if we don't even know these people or their organizations. We do have a soft spot for kids compared to adult choirs or groups like this one from the church that we allowed into our home one evening.

I myself did my share of Christmas caroling with my friends back in the day when life was less complicated (at least for us kids at the time). People were less jaded and more generous. Well, at least, that was what most of the people in our middle class neighborhood were (Most gave us money in the range of 1 peso to 20 pesos - significant amounts back in the early to mid 1980's.). I would like to think that we did our part preparing for our almost nightly caroling by coming up with a good list of songs we could sing and practicing so that we had our lyrics right and sang in tune. We sang about 4 songs per home with mostly English carols or songs including "Silent Night," "O Holy Night," "Hark the Herald," and "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit."

These days, it's becoming rarer every year to hear kids singing complete Christmas carols or songs and we have heard some singing more contemporary yet seemingly inappropriate songs for their age (Pasko na Sinta ko? Christmas won't be the same without you? etc.). Most songs are sung without effort (no practice?) and usually are (much) shorter versions of popular carols including "Joy to the World,""Bago Sumapit ang Pasko" and "We wish you a Merry Christmas." Lyrics are often incomprehensible; revealing the carolers unfamiliarity with the songs (only the tunes). The singing also usually stops after 3 short songs or abruptly when "Patawad" or pamasko (usually money) is given. The "thank yous" to conclude the caroling are also hurriedly sang and without feeling (or sincerity).


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