THE PASKUHAN festivities this year will carry a more profound meaning, focusing on the deeper significance of Christmas amid conflicts in parts of the world, a UST official said.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P., the Facilities and Management Office (FMO) director, said this year’s Paskuhan theme, “Witnessing the Joy of Christmas,” is particularly fitting given the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“Right now, since there is war, we need to look for the significance of our Paskuhan–it’s not just merrymaking, happiness, shouting and celebrating, but more,” Austria said. 

“Although the war is very far, we can feel the ramifications of that war not only economically and politically, but we have our own war here in Southeast Asia also. When we find joy, even if our environment is in disorder, we will find peace.”

In a circular, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. encouraged Thomasians to seek joy and peace in a manner akin to the shepherds’ encounter with the newborn Jesus in the Bethlehem manger.

“Upon arriving in Bethlehem and seeing the baby Jesus lying in a manger, their joy would have been overwhelming,” Coronel said. “They were not merely witnessing a historic moment but also encountering the fulfillment of prophecies and the embodiment of hope for salvation. Their joy at seeing the Christ child was a deeply spiritual and emotional experience.”

Austria also urged Thomasians to look for Jesus amid the celebration of Christmas.

“It’s very appropriate for us to celebrate Christmas with joy in our hearts and look for Jesus at the recesses of our hearts.” 

Decorations installed on campus, most prominently in the Plaza Mayor and the Arch of the Centuries, resemble characters and elements from the popular video game franchise, “Super Mario.”

A worker installs lights to a Christmas decoration resembling a question block from the ‘Super Mario’ video game franchise on Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Plaza Mayor. (Photo by Albert Earl A. Gomez/ The Varsitarian)
Traditional Filipino parols decorated with eyes and resembling ‘Super Stars’ from video game franchise ‘Super Mario’ are installed at the Arch of the Centuries in the UST Sampaloc campus. (Photo by Albert Earl A. Gomez/ The Varsitarian)

The traditional Paskuhan festivities in UST will commence on Dec. 1 with the lighting of decorations around the campus. 

The Agape or the Thomasian Christmas feast will be on Dec. 13. 

The Paskuhan celebration will end with a grand concert on Dec. 21.


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