“We are the children of our landscape [and of the weather too]; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it.”—Lawrence Durrell, Justine, 1957
Ilang araw na lang at Pasko na naman. Siguradong hanap-hanap na naman ng maraming Filipino ang mga bagay na kaakibat ng okasyóng iyan. Muli na naman nilang gugunitain ang masasayang alaalang hatid nito. Para sa mga kabataan, kasama sa mga alaalang ito ang pagbisita kay ninang at ninong, lola’t lolo, tiya’t tiyo; pagtanggap ng mga regalo’t aguinaldo; pagpasyal sa karnabál at malls kasama ang mga barkada; paggising nang maaga para makapag–misa de gallo at pagkatapos e makapag-almusal ng puto bumbong o sumang latík at mainit na tsaá o tsokolate sa may kanto. Para sa matatanda naman, siguradong hanap-hanap nila ang lambing at karinyo ng mga apó sa Pilipinas at ang pagluluto sa bakuran ng iba’t ibang putaheng ihahanda sa noche buena at media noche.
To Each Her Own Culture, Yet Ultimate Aspirations Remain the Same
To many Filipinos living here in Canada, especially to those who grew up in the Philippines, nothing compares with the festive ways of celebrating Christmas back home. However, they should not expect Filipinos who were born here or even other races here in Canada to share the same enthusiasm about Christmas in the Philippines, because a person’s concept of joy is largely influenced by her experiences. What many Filipinos consider a joyful celebration may not be as joyous to others.
For instance, to a typical Filipino, a great Christmas celebration most likely involves a festive and noisy gathering of families and neighbors and friends in the yards of houses or in the neighborhood streets, accompanied with fireworks and firecrackers and processions and parades. However, to a legitimate Canadian, a wonderful Christmas experience may be a sumptuous dinner solemnly shared with immediate members of the family. Ask the Filipino, he might be inclined to say that Christmas in his home country is merrier. Ask the Canadian, and she might say that her family’s yearly Christmas get-together is the best dinner ever.
So, how come the way Christmas is typically celebrated in Canada differs from the way most Filipinos celebrate the occasion in the Philippines?
How come in Canada, Christmas has no much fanfare, fireworks, and firecrackers in the streets; no midnight and early-morning masses; no processions and parades; no sight of children carolling; no carnivals and fairs; no get-togethers outside in the backyards?
Okay, let’s look at it from the opposite perspective—how come Christmas in the Philippines is devoid of snow; temperature does not even get close to 10 degrees Centigrade; people don’t need to wear thick and heavy coats, mittens, and tuques; roast chickens and pigs instead of roast turkeys are on the dining table; usually bananas and mangoes instead of peaches and pears are on the platter?
Simply because the Philippines is a tropical country—the reason many occasions are celebrated there festively outdoors; the fun and the noise are heard in the whole neighborhood. Whereas in Canada, which is a winter coutry, December and January are frigidly cold—the reason Christmas and perhaps any other winter occasion is better celebrated indoors. But if we are to observe the joy and the fun of the people in both situations, nothing much is different. Everybody laughs, everyone partakes of the food, everybody celebrates and feels the spirit of the occasion in the company of their loved ones.
Sa Madaling Salita
Bawat bansa, bawat kultura ay may kanya-kanyang okasyóng pinaghahandaan nang lubos at ipinagdiriwang nang buong kagalakan at kasiyahan. Bawat tao ay may kanya-kanyang paraan kung paano ipagdiriwang ang bawat okasyón. At alalahanin na malaki ang impluwensiya ng klima ng isang bansa sa paraan kung paano isinasagawa o idinaraos ng mga tao ang napakaraming bagay. Bukod pa rito, malaking factor din ang relihiyón; kaya ang Pasko ay hindi naman talaga para sa lahat. Ito ay bahagi lamang ng kultura ng mga taong ang paniniwala ay Kristiyanismo; at ang Kristiyanismo ay isa lamang sa napakaraming relihiyón sa buong mundo. Kaya hindi ka dapat magulat kung meron kang kaklase o katrabaho na hindi excited na gaya mo sa darating na Pasko, dahil ang Canada ay isang multikulturál na bansa. Maaaring meron silang mas inaabangang festividád kaysa Pasko ng mga Kristiyano.
Kaya kung ikaw ay isang tunay na Kristiyano (o Kristiyana), ipagdiwang mo ang Pasko nang buong sayá nang hindi na kinakailangan pang ikumpara ito sa kultura ng iba. Isipin mo na lang na samu’t sari man ang kulay, lahi, o paniniwala sa buong mundo—hindi man lahat ay nagdiriwang ng Pasko—e siguradong pare-pareho pa rin ang palaging hangad ng nakararami, anuman ang okasyón: Kapayapaan at kasaganaan!
Or, in Simple Words
Let’s celebrate the season in our own positive ways without asserting that ours is the best and most joyful way of celebrating it. Because, to draw comparisons ruins the true meaning of Christmas. More so, it somehow disrespects the culture of others. Realize that however which way people celebrate Christmas, the spirit and the level of joy is the same in their hearts. The degree of sadness or contentment is not always proportional to the curve of the lips when people frown or smile. True loneliness or happiness remains concealed in the heart.