UP cancels traditional Lantern Parade but . . . | Inquirer News

UP cancels traditional Lantern Parade but . . .

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:34 AM December 18, 2020

FIERCE Since mass gatherings remain restricted due to the pandemic, dancers tapped for the University of the Philippines’ annual Lantern Parade have their number recorded on video on Wednesday night. The video
will be shown on Facebook on Friday. —LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time in more than a decade, the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) canceled its traditional Lantern Parade and will instead hold a simple program with prerecorded performances on Friday.

In a Dec. 10 memorandum, UP vice chancellor for community affairs Aleli Bawagan said the academic community would instead hold a simple program at Quezon Hall at 6 p.m. “to commemorate and remember the entirety of 2020,” when the country faced one tragedy after another—from the eruption of Taal Volcano in January, the ongoing pandemic since March and the onslaught of typhoons from October to November.


Previous parades, traditionally marking the beginning of the Christmas break for the Diliman community, featured floats made by the university’s different colleges and their student organizations and culminated in a concert at Quezon Hall, the campus’ administrative center.


Calls for justice

The UP College of Fine Arts, which frequently won earlier parades, decided as early as November not to participate this year and instead asked its students to help their communities, by participating in relief operations and donation drives inside and outside the university.

“We believe that helping our countrymen to recover from this crisis brought upon us by the pandemic and natural disasters, while amplifying our calls for justice from an administration that has left us drowning in darkness should come first,” the CFA student council said in a statement.

“In a society where the government is turning a blind eye to the cries of the people while neglecting its duty to serve. By bringing people and ideas together, art will serve its purpose,” it added.

The parade traces its roots to 1922 when it was held as a simple homage to the old Christmas tradition of carrying lanterns to light the way to dawn Masses.

But it was institutionalized in 1934 by then UP President Jorge C. Bocobo “so that students can have a frolicsome activity before the year ends.”

Back when UP was still in Manila, the parade ran from the university quadrangle on Padre Faura Street, made its way through Taft Avenue, Isaac Peral (now United Nations Avenue) and Florida (now Maria Orosa) streets, and eventually ended in front of the old engineering building where the present Court of Appeals now stands.



But the parade was not held in the course of World War II and was brought back only in 1949 when the university moved to its new campus in Diliman.

The Lantern Parade was also put on hiatus during the civil unrest in the 1970s and returned only in 1977 with participants carrying torches while parading around the Academic Oval, unmoved by the ominous atmosphere of martial law.

In 2006, the parade was canceled due to “security threats” reportedly brought about by a looming tuition fee increase.

During UP’s centenary in 2008, the university system administration brought the largest Lantern Parade to Rizal Park in Manila and expanded participation to its other constituent universities all over the country.

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Besides being a spectacle for the community, Lantern Parade has served as a platform for protest and airing of national concerns, most notably on budget cuts for the education sector, among others grievances to the national government.

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