Tiwanak tree branches washed ashore during stormy weather.
But I have always made tiwanak bamboo Christmas trees in my youth even when all I could do was wrap all their branches with white crepe-paper and hang cut-outs and candy wrappers with round beach pebbles inside to provide the glitter in place of Christmas balls and bells that easily break anyway.
Then I learn years later that cutting boughs of evergreen trees in December was really practiced by pagan cultures thousands of years before the birth of the famous baby in the manger, but only to mark the winter solstice, the time of year that had the shortest day and longest night; that the early Egyptian not having evergreen decorated their homes instead with palm fronds during the winter solstice; that the ancient Romans decorated their trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus, and placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god.
That Germans in the 16th century brought trees into homes to celebrate their Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24 and brought the practice to America until it became popular in the 1850’s. That it was only in 1923 when the White House started its National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. So I learn that the idea of Christmas trees were eventually brought to these Philippine islands by the Americans in those years.
The Christmas Tree at The Emirates Palace. Photo: AP
Then I hear that early this week, the most magnificent and most expensive Christmas tree in the world costing $11-million was unveiled at The Emirates Palace in Muslim Abu Dhabi. The tree was bedecked with diamonds, pearls, emeralds and rubies along with gold and silver balls and bows. So I surmise that that must be more stunning than Swarovski’s talked –about Christmas tree at the Zurich central station with its 7,000 Swarovski crystals.
The Swarovski Christmas Tree in Zurich.
And I suppose that I should be content for now teaching the young kids to make do with tiwanak Christmas trees with crepe-paper and candy wrappers, cut-outs of stars and candles. There are gifts to find hidden under our unique tiwanak Christmas tree anyway.
MALIGAYANG PASKO PO!