December issues of different magazines
MOD Girl, December 16, 2005
On the Cover: Maria Denise M. Estrada
Disyembre 16 sa Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas
Noong Disyembre 16, 1970, ang Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) ay itinatag ng pamahalaang Marcos bilang isang pribadong institusiyon upang tumulong sa mga development programs at socio-economic projects na ang pangunahing layunin ay maiangat ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga mahihirap sa Pilipinas. Isa itong foundation, na kauna-unahan sa Asia, ng pinagsanib ng mga corporate at community-based organizations para sa pagtataguyod ng kaunlaran.
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Personalities and celebrities born on December 16:
1730 – Diego Andaya Silang, hero and revolutionary leader, in Aringay, Pangasinan (d. May 28, 1763).
1925 – Kerima Polotan-Tuvera (birth name Putli Kerima Polotan), fictionist, essayist, journalist and author a.k.a. Patricia S. Torres – in Jolo, Sulu (d. August 19, 2011).
1933 – Gloria Romero (real name Gloria Borrego Galla), award-winning actress – in Denver, Colorado.
(Noong siya ay nagdadalaga pa lamang,
mula sa pahina ng Hiwaga Komiks, Marso 7, 1956)
1968 – Kenneth Cobonpue, award-winning industrial designer – in Cebu.
on the cover of Celebrity World (June 27, 1994).
THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA CLAUS
Every Christmas, people, especially children, often talk about “Santa Claus.” In some countries, children are still made to believe that if you hang socks near the chimney, Santa Claus will put gifts in them.
One such example was that of Virginia O’Hanlon1 of New York City. O’Hanlon, who was then eight years old, wrote a letter that reads: “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
On September 21, 1897, the New York Sun published a response through editor Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906): “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
Of course we all know now that this is but a wishful thought just like the ones parents tell their children wanting them to be good and polite especially during the Yuletides. But who is this Santa Claus? Is this character for real?
Movies, children stories, old wives’ tales and actual people portraying and masquerading as Santa Claus are popular happenings during the Yuletide season. The portrayal of an old, white-mustached and bearded, fat man dressed in red suit carrying a sackful of gifts; riding in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeers; and who goes down on chimneys to put gifts in socks and stockings hanged by good children, has been a “traditional” belief of many around the world.
An illustration of
Santa Claus plotting his flight,|
on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post
(December 16, 1933).
Sorry to tell you, however, but these are merely figments of the imagination. No, Virginia, sorry to disappoint you, but you better know the truth; there is no such person as Santa Claus. Well, perhaps not in the manner we were made to believe.
Many researchers believe that the person of Santa Claus is really that of St. Nicholas of Myra. But even the historical background of this man and how he came to be Santa Claus is quite vague. Oftentimes, the narratives about his life were just passed from one storyteller to the other.
The name “Santa Claus” most likely came from Sinter Klaes, Dutch for Saint Nicholas. When the Dutch Protestants settled in New Amsterdam (now New York), they brought with them many stories of the “visits” of Saint Nicholas. In their stories, Sinter Klaes was a just and benevolent magician who conjures gifts to good and polite children.
The transformation of St. Nicholas into “Father Christmas” or “Father January” took place in Germany, then in countries where the Reformed Churches were in the majority, and finally in France. The feast day of St. Nicholas was put off from December 6 to December 25 or to New Year’s Day. But there are still Catholic areas where children hang up their socks and stockings by the chimney on the eve of December 6 so that St. Nicholas or Santa Claus may fill them with toys and delicacies. Since then, St. Nicholas has become the favorite patron saint of Catholic children around the world.
St. Nicholas is one of the most popular saints who are not martyrs in both eastern and western Christian churches. He is said to be the patron saint of sailors, fishermen, travelers, bakers, merchants and, most especially, children. Little is known about his life except that he was Bishop of Myra in Lycia, on the coast of Asia Minor.
In fact, his existence is not fully attested to by historical documents. It is believed that he was born in Patara in Lycia sometime between A.D. 270 and 300. Some stories say that he made a pilgrimage as a boy to Egypt and Palestine; that he was imprisoned during the Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution and released under Constantine’s rule. Some legends say he attended the Council of Nicaea in A.D.325. Many alleged miracles were attributed to this mysterious man. But all of these have no factual basis.
According to the biography of another Nicholas, a sixth century abbot of the monastery of Sion near Myra, he saved three girls whom he dowered to save from the prostitution that poverty was forcing on them. St. Nicholas gave gold to each of the three girls for their dowries so that they could get married.
Most “miracles” that reportedly occurred through St. Nicholas’ prayers happened to three individuals. Why this is so is still unexplained. If this has something to do with him, according also to legends and some artists’ portrayals, always putting three nuts or three berries on his palm, is highly speculative. Another example is the story of three court officers unjustly condemned to death but were saved by his appearance in a dream to Constantine, first Roman emperor to become a Christian.
The sixth century Greek text Praxis de strate latis attributed to him numerous incredible feats directed toward the poor, the sick and the unhappy, travelers, merchants and children. Some account from the text related that he brought to life three children after they have been chopped into pieces by a butcher and put in a salting vat!
Some accounts told that in 1087, Italian sailors brought his body from Myra to Bari in Apulia, a commune in Italy. This transport, commemorated on May 9 of every year, greatly increased the saint’s popularity and Bari became one of the world’s most crowded pilgrimage centers. Ironically the Vatican hierarchy announced on May 9, 1969, the scrapping of the name of St. Nicholas and that of 32 other “saints,” which include the Three Kings and St. Christopher, from the Calendarium Romanum.
Much of Europe, however, still observed December 6, the day of St. Nicholas’ death, as a special holiday. It became the feast day that devout Christians celebrate annually. He became the patron saint of Russia and many other European countries, as well as various charitable fraternities and merchant guilds.
St. Nicholas’ deeds were the favorite subject for liturgical plays and medieval artists, and his feast day is observed with much ceremonies. In Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, men in bishop’s robes pose as St. Nicholas. They visit children, examined them on their prayers, urge them to be good, and give them gifts. As traditions and stories were passed from one generation to another, the name came to be transformed to Santa Claus.
In reality, Santa Claus does not have the fancy costume, the flying sleigh and the magical reindeers. These were all artists’ additions to brighten and enliven the legends behind this obscure character. It is not even verified that he had a snow-white mustache and beard. However, the legends continue to flourish and appeal not only to the wild imagination of children but also to adults alike throughout the world.
In 1823, American writer Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) even gave names to Santa’s eight reindeers (Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donner, Prancer and Vixen) in his poem A Visit From St. Nicholas.
Whatever traditions or stories about Santa Claus that have been passed to us are not really important. Let us be good (not only this Christmas season but everyday) not for any fictional or legendary character, but for God, for our family, for our fellowmen and for ourselves.
(1) According to Edward P. Mitchell’s book Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, Virginia O’Hanlon received a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1911, married and devoted her life to teaching and working with chronically ill children.
Alam niyo ba na nagkasama sa isang pelikula sina Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes at Barbara Perez? Ito ay sa pelikulang ginawa ng Sampaguita Pictures na Wedding bells (1959) sa ilalim ng direksyon ni Jose de Villa. Datapuwa’t may iba’t-ibang segment ang naturang pelikula. Kasama rin sa pelikula sina Juancho Gutierrez, Jose Mari Gonzales, Romeo Vasquez, Dolphy, atbp. Magkatambal sina Fuentes at Vasquez sa segment na “Pikot,” sina Roces at Gonzales sa “Pamamanhikan,” sina Perez at Martin sa “Kasalan,” at sina Romero at Gutierrez sa “Honeymoon.” Ipinalabas ito sa mga sinehan noong Disyembre 26, 1959.
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