Albay celebrates Karangahan Green Christmas Festival

December 15, 2014 1:12 pm 

By Johnny C. Nunez

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec. 14 (PNA) — Albay turns "green" this Christmas, with its Karangahan Green Christmas Festival, a month-long festivity imbibing environment protection concepts and safe celebration of the holidays.

Now on its fifth year, the current festival features a giant green Christmas Tree made of live sweet potato shoots or “camote,” so far the first of its kind, a symbol of the province’s decisive food security program. The tree was lighted during the festival’s ceremonial launching on Dec. 13.

During its soft opening, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said his province is celebrating Green Christmas true to the needs of the world today since “Green is the color of Growth, the color of Hope, and Green is Clean.”

In a recent memorandum to Albay provincial government employees and barangay officials, Salceda once again reiterated their province’s adherence to a zero casualty celebration, a cornerstone goal in its disaster risk reduction program.

“Our Santa Clauses are garbed in Green — they go around towns and bring goodies and toys and joy to our children. Our handicrafts are made from indigenous Green abaca, stripped into fine threads and woven into fabrics. Our foods in Culinaria Albay are from indigenous Green crops and fruits and vegetables,” he added, describing the Karangahan Festival.

Salceda said the giant Christmas Tree expresses “our living dream of liberating our poor from hunger.” Albay is presently the second largest producer of camote in the country.

He said holding of the Karangahan Albay Green Christmas Festival, even after the recent typhoon "Ruby" calamity, “is a way of stressing to our people there is hope.” The festival also swept away the debris of past disasters and imbibed the lessons learned from them.

The memorandum also bans firecrackers in merrymaking, the use of plastics in decorations and food serving, and encourages the use of organic and indigenous materials to promote environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

An Academic Olympics for elementary and high school divisions was also among the features of the festival, in support of the province’s holistic education program.

Salceda said “Karangahan is a joyful celebration that hopes to bring the spirit of Christmas to our provincemates who remain here or who could not be with their loved ones elsewhere. It is also for the young and old whose means could not be sufficient for the luxury treats and amenities associated with Christmas celebrations.

This year, Salceda stressed, “is significant for us because of events that tested our determination and spirit in doing the best we could in good or in bad times.”

KARANGAHAN comes from the ancient Bikol word RANGA which means solace with a high degree of respect, caring and blissful joy.

Salceda said that as before, the Karangahan Festival will showcase Albay’s best — its culture, its arts, its products and its rich heritage. “I enjoin you to interact with our artists as they perform the music and dances of Bikol during Christmas. Marvel at the new indigenous products of our creative industry, and experience the joy of sharing during this Yuletide Season,” he enthused.

More visitors are expected to come to Albay to witness and join the festival, and see for themselves the dolphins that now abound in the Santo Domingo town portion of the Albay gulf, and a Christmas Village depicting leading cities of the world in Malinao town. (PNA)

SCS/JCN/SSC

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