Lest we forget, we’re now in festive mood-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
CALL them political, not religious activities. The Liberal Party (LP) sponsored a mass for “peace, justice and the rule of law” at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church last Wednesday. At the Fuente Osmeña, a mass preceded a march to the Capitol by One Cebu of suspended governor Gwendolyn Garcia on the same day. Obviously, the participants of the two activities didn’t pray for the good of humankind but only of their own kind.
The real religious activity is the “Walk with Jesus” at dawn today from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica del Sto. Niño initiated by Augustinian priests, caretakers of Cebu’s veneration of the Child Jesus. The “Walk” signals the start of the nine-day novena-masses leading to the Sto. Niño fiesta on Jan. 20, the date for this year of the feast (traditionally, third Sunday of the month).
I was surprised a few days ago when my wife Edizza suggested that we watch again the Sinulog Grand Parade culminating activity on fiesta day. It has been years since we stopped the ritual of watching the dances at the grandstand of the Cebu City Sports Center. That was when our youngest, Rick-rick, acquired the habit of vomiting when riding motor vehicles (except tricycles, which are banned in Cebu City’s main streets). He has dropped the habit recently.
It now looks like Rick-rick would be included this year in the other religious activity our family, or more specifically my wife, wouldn’t miss: joining the solemn prosession on the day before the fiesta. Last year, it was only our eldest child, Khan-khan, who accompanied his mother in the procession (duty called on that day, meaning, I reported for work). I am still thinking about filing a leave of absence on that day.
I would like to believe that it is in my genes to join rituals like those featured in Filipino fiestas. My late father Tiyong was born in Tudela town in the Camotes group of islands. Before the Spaniards Christianized the country, a part of Tudela was the site of a thriving village called Tag-anito, which is known for “Pag-anito,” an animistic ritual in pre-Spanish Philippines. The arrival of Spanish priests in the town killed the ritual, and its place was held the fiesta.
I spent many summers vacationing in Tudela growing up and was amazed at the kind of attention the people gave to the feast of their patrons, not only at the town level (for the Immaculate Conception in early December) but also in the barangays. Fiestas there are, literally, feasts, with most houses preparing food and drinking and merriment is the order of the day. That is no longer so in urban areas, like in most places in Metro Cebu.
Instead, the feast of the Sto. Niño is one for the eyes. It was only a few days ago when I noticed that the portion of P. del Rosario St. where Sun.Star Cebu is located has already been adorned with colored lights like they were fiesta buntings. That prompted me to walk the length of the city’s major thoroughfare, Osmeña Blvd. Wednesday night to observe the fiesta preparations. The lights, the decorations, the color, the crowd---there was no mistaking the city is now in a festive mood.
With the political campaign that has (informally) started and all the hatred being fomented especially with the suspension of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, it pays to remember that society is also about other things, like the feast of the Child Jesus. With the start today of the nine-day novena masses, I say Pit Senyor to all of us.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2013.