Climax man honors Filipino heritage with special Christmas tradition

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To honor his mother Juliet Kelly and to remember the traditions of her homeland, the Philippines during the Christmas holidays, Joseph Kelly hosted what he called a Pinoy Country Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 13 at his home on Madison Street in Climax.
The Kelly home was beautifully decorated with a large Christmas tree conveniently located near the fireplace in the large living room. The mantle held colorful ornaments, pinecones and lighted garland. Cascading down both sides of the mantle with the garland was two rows of family pictures in memory of those members who had passed away.
From the living room one entered the dining room, where an unusual Christmas tree greeted everyone. A key chain tree held a place of distinction in one corner. Joseph said he had collected the key chains from different places he had visited, and yes there was one from the Philippines.
Something more powerful than the key chain tree claimed one’s attention in the dining room, and that was the mingling of good aromas floating in from the kitchen as some were cooking and others bringing in dishes of food already cooked for the lunch celebration. The massive dining table held sliced cakes of every description, and some said they heard that there were somewhere around 15 different types of cakes and pies.
A huge crowd of folks came from the Climax community, Bainbridge, and even from as far away as Atlanta to join in the celebration. The celebration began around lunch time on Saturday and continued until the wee hours of the morning on Sunday with food being continually cooked and served to those arriving as others departed.
Holding with the traditional Christmas celebration of his Mother’s homeland, many with Filipino descent came to honor and celebrate the season. The tradition is for friends and family to arrive all during the day while certain ones were designated to cook and keep the food coming. After playing games with the children, such as balloon toss, and other games, several took a rest while others continue to cook.
Joseph explained that the group would eat all day and into the night then exchange gifts for Christmas before all spreading their sleeping bags on the floor, and spending the night together, just like their families in the Philippines. No, Joseph said there was not anyone staying the night from the Climax area.
Upon waking the following morning, the cleaning crew left Joseph’s home as spotless as it was when they got there, and no left over food to spoil either. What wasn’t eaten the day before was discarded if needed to be, or everyone took home care packages to be eaten later that day.
Joseph hosts this Pinoy County Christmas each year for his mother and to honor his own heritage.
“I thoroughly enjoy this time of the year and remembering the different traditions, such as we have in South Georgia as well as the Philippines,” he said. Then with a wave of his hand and nod of his head, Joseph Kelly said, “Merry Christmas Climax, and to all a good night,” Or was that Santa? Or maybe they are one in the same!

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