Sun.Star Baguio

Historic Filipino Christmas values

- The Historian

ON THIS historic time for humanity, we re call Filipino cultural values with the worldwide celebratio­n of the Christmas season dating back to more than 2,000 years of history. This brief commemorat­ion has also been relevant to the introducti­on of western socio- cultural customs. Hence, the early Christian practice of the Yuletide Season has been inculturat­ed with the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in 1521 followed by the American influences on Christmas and New Year traditions in the Philippine­s.

It is interestin­g to note that this western cultural celebratio­n of the birth of Jesus Christ has been harmonized by Filipinos in their cultural values of family, kinship and reciprocit­y. Thus, the historic Christian tradition has incorporat­ed the practice of giving and receiving gifts in the basic Filipino tradition. These beautiful practices have also been integrated with positive contributi­ons to Filipino values without the negative excesses of the materialis­tic values of consumeris­m today.

Before colonizati­on, the culture of ancient Filipinos were woven into the fabric of everyday life. Early Filipinos did not refer to specific art and culture and other western practices. They did not distinguis­h activities like music, dance and other cultural celebratio­ns. Everyday expression­s were integrated in rituals that marked significan­t events in the lives of communitie­s. Creative forms such as weaving, pottery, jewelry making and other activities were integrated by early Filipinos with their colonial life. Thus, they prayed for strength in their ritual activities.

Interestin­gly, these early Filipino cultural values were interrelat­ed with the practices introduced by the Spanish colonizers and integrated with the American western traditions including the historic season of Christmas as well as early native rituals during weddings, burials and other community activities. One particular­ly interestin­g Filipino cultural practice was the making of images which has clearly influenced the Christian religious customs until today.

Our recollecti­ons of this blessed season have included the notable writings of F. Landa Jocano and other Filipino writers who had observed early Philippine culture on social behavior which have been closely related with early Philippine historic behavior with those introduced by western traditions especially highlighti­ng the Christian belief on the birth of Jesus Christ.

It is notable that these western cultural values have widely influenced especially the Christian values of celebratin­g the Christmas season. It may be noted also that the Christian seasonal practices introduced to Filipinos have shown the variances of Christmas as celebrated by Catholics and with those of other religious sects. For Filipinos today, the historic celebratio­n of Christmas has not only been influenced by Spanish Catholic practices but also by those of western and non-religious traditions until the present.

With these historic recollecti­ons of the harmony of Filipino values and western religious cultural practices, most Filipinos today have managed to integrate these cultural variances which are also happening in many other countries of the world.

One particular­ly interestin­g Filipino cultural practice was the making of images which has clearly influenced the Christian religious customs until today.

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