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'What Child is This': A true reflection of why we celebrate Christmas

Singer/artist Jinky Marsh sang 'Anong Bata Ito', a Filipino translation of the song 'What Child is This' by lyricist William Chatterton Dix. Source: Supplied by Kevin Bathman

Sydney-based actor-singer Jinky Marsh pushed for the Filipino version of the song "What Child is This" to lay emphasis on the true reason why the world celebrates Christmas.

As part of the City of Sydney's first-ever multicultural ‘Sound of Christmas from Asia Pacific”, the song along with other seven songs from the album, seeks to foster Australia's diverse culture.

Jinky Marsh believes that "It's a good starting point in particular for Filipino-Australian artists to get involved in main stream projects and share Filipino Christmas customs," says the artist who's also a part-time translator.

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'Anong Bata Ito' sumasalamin sa tunay na dahilan ng pagdiriwang ng Pasko
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  • The song 'What Child is This' ('Anong Bata Ito' in Filipino) a true reflection why Christmas is being celebrated
  • Filipinos' joyful celebration of Christmas
  • Passing on Christmas traditions from generation to generations

'Anong Bata Ito'

For the northern Sydney-based theatre artist, "Anong Bata Ito" (What Child is This in English) is the most fitting song for Christmas.

"I couldn't find an exact translation of the original English song What Child is This, that's why I extrude in translating the song." shares the storyteller, vocalist and translator.

The English song was written by lyricist William Chatterton Dix in 1865. 

Doing the translation of the song was not too difficult for Jinky.

"I am currently working part-time translating summaries of the books from the Bible for one Diocese in Hornsby area, in northern Sydney and for a group of people promoting reading of the Bible.

'Anong Bata Ito’ is one of eight songs included on the ‘Sound of Christmas from Asia Pacific’ album. It seeks to bring Australia’s multicultural community together in one project.

Filipino Christmas celebrations

For many Filipinos, prepping for Christmas begins in September - from home decorations to planning events. 

But in the Christian faith, the birth of baby Jesus is the centre of all the Christmas celebrations including families attending Dawn Masses.

"Foremost in our celebrations is our attendance of the Dawn Masses and it's not only about the presents that we give and receive," points Jinky.

Families getting together is something that many Filipinos and non-Filipinos look forward to.

Sound of Christmas from Asia Pacific
'Anong Bata Ito' sang by Jinky Marsh is one of eight songs included in the City of Sydney's first multicultural Christmas album 'Sound of Christmas from Asia Pacific'.
Supplied by Kevin Bathman

So much to be thankful for

The current pandemic may have changed the way we celebrate over the past two years, but passing on to the next generations the true spirit of Christmas is essential.

"We need to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. It's not all about the gifts that we receive - but more about the peace in our heart," she stresses, adding she is personally teaching her Filipino tradition to her two children.

“Even if there were bad things that had happened in our lives, we still have to be thankful for the life we ​​have,” adds Jinky.

"We have so much to be thankful for and Christmas is one of them," says Jinky.

The mum-of-two also hopes there will be future projects in the coming years that will include multicultural music and songs and she's crossing her fingers too that they be included in the wider Christmas celebrations in Australia like the Carols in the Domain in Sydney.

"In this way, migrants may feel they are part of the Australian community."

And even though she's been living in Australia for a long time now, Jinky sees the importance of "continuing to pass on to her children the importance of celebrating with family."

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