While we credit Spain for teaching us pinoys to celebrate Novembers one and two in honor of Christian saints and our dead, we fail to realize that Halloween, both as a concept and a stand-alone, may not be so foreign after all. In fact, its pinoy version, is more popular especially in the provinces.
It is there where a rich blend of local folk tales and legends still runs deep so that for the children, the fear of Aswang, Kapre, the Manananggal, white lady, and other ghouls is so embedded deep into culture, it’s almost akin to an all-year-round Halloween special. A useful tool for reining little kids in at night, one might say, but the truth is, many of the folks in the rural areas believe such stuff and swear by them as well. Customs and traditions do not die easily here, unlike in the city where, to some degree, beliefs like these usually wane under a continued-bombardment of bright lights and outside influences.
That said, the western construct that is Halloween, is not generally regarded as a hot item in the rural scene. However, as one moves into the more urbanized centers, not only is it accepted and embraced fully, it is in fact even given new spin, largely because of its appeal as a commercial device for business, and as an ambience-setting theme for party-popping peeps, city folks that we are. In a comical sense, that is basically what a city is best at, sucking everything in and churning out its own remakes.
Seriously, if one were to look at things in a harsher light, how foreign really are the concepts of trick-or-treat, the Easter bunny, and others for that matter, to us Pinoys?
We take them in, yes, sponges that we are, but lest you forget, in the rural setting, the degrees of acceptance may vary a bit. To give an example, celebrating a St. Patrick’s Day party in a city resto-bar might be a successfully-rave thing to do, but that would not get the same warm reception when done beyond that cosmopolitan place where mindsets do not sway so easily.
This is not necessarily bad though, it’s just human nature. Anywhere, the urban psyche will always run smack against the formidable wall of rural beliefs and traditions. The play of old versus new is a timeless (and perhaps a futile) exercise; and as that old adage goes, “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?” Nada.
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