Page 6 - HGS Suburb News 144 - December 2020
P. 6


                              FES TIV ALS OF THE W ORLD

                                                 A festival a day for the Filipinos!

                                                                                          Even though the festival is over 500 years old, it was modernised about 40 years ago when
                                                                                       the first Sinulog parade was organised. The event celebrated the traditional Sinulog dances
                                                                                       with  a  collaborative  performance  between  several  PE  teachers  from  local  schools  and
                                                                                       universities. Since then, these festivities have increased in size and popularity, and last about
                                                                                       10 days. Every year, millions of tourists and locals flock to witness its buoyant atmosphere,
                                                                                       rhythmic music and colourful costumes.
                                                                                          So what is the festival like? On the third Sunday of January, brightly coloured dancers in
                                                                                       fabulous parades fill the streets of Cebu, in the southern Philippines. Thudding drums and
                                                                                       lively music reverberate through the air, crowds cheer loudly at the lavishly decorated floats
                                                                                       passing by the specially erected grandstands. Beautifully costumed performers dance their
                                                                                       mesmerising steps, forward-backward, forward-backward, mimicking the Sulog (the current
                                                                                       of the river) which the festival is named after. These traditional dances, once performed to
                                                                                       idols, now pay homage to the Santo Niño (Baby Jesus) - which is where the festival gets its
                                                                                       second name: the Sinulog Santo Niño festival.
                                                                                         To start with, the image of Santo Niño is taken to various important buildings in Cebu city,
                                                                                      then the festival kicks off with a Catholic mass and an opening parade. Throughout the week,
                                                                                      there are daily live concerts, various cultural events and a multitude of competitions. The
                                                                                      Sinulog Competitions include dance competitions, a film festival, Sinulog Idol (a singing
                                                                                      competition), and the annual search for the Sinulog Festival Queen.
                                                                                         On the main day of the festival, after another early morning mass, the Sinulog Grand
                                                                                      Parade runs until the evening, ending with two grand firework displays. Re-enactments of the
                                                                                      Sinulog’s history are depicted on several procession floats, which are usually very elaborate,
                                                                                      and the Parade can last nearly 12 hours!
            an you imagine having something to celebrate every single day? In the Philippines, there’s
                                                                                         During the celebrations, there are numerous lively street parties involving spontaneous
         Cno need to imagine - every year the collective communities on its 7,100 islands celebrate
                                                                                      group hugging, the throwing of drinks or even paint. Despite being one of the oldest Filipino
         over 42,000 festivals. Many of these have both cultural and religious roots. The Philippines
                                                                                      festivals,  Sinulog  has  adapted  to  modern
        have a large Roman Catholic influence thanks to Spanish conquests in the 1500s (the name  times and is still a vibrant centre of partying!
        “Philippines” comes from King Philip II of Spain). Previously pagan festivals became Christianised
                                                                                         This year, with COVID-19 restrictions, all
        when both Spanish and native cultures became entwined.
                                                                                      events will be either online or outdoors and
           Besides the Western influence, an impressive diversity of ethnicities provides the Philippines
                                                                                      socially distanced.
        with a rich culture of celebrations. There are festivals lasting over a month (Panagbenga
                                                                                         With a complex cultural history and an
        festival, celebrating flowers), ancient festivals (the over 800-year-old Ati-Atihan festival), and
                                                                                      uncertain future, at their core, these festivals
        newer festivals (the Pineapple festival started in 1993). Each festival brings together a
                                                                                      still bring together families and communities
        community to celebrate with colourful decorations, dancing, singing and feasting. I’ll be
                                                                                      to celebrate their heritage and beliefs.
        taking a closer look at the Sinulog Santo Niño festival, one of the oldest Filipino festivals, which
                                                                                      Perhaps  this  reminds  us  of  what  our  own
        originates from the pre-Christian Philippines.
                                                                                      festivals mean to us – that festive spirit that
           Sinulog is an especially interesting festival, because it was developed amidst a transition in
                                                                                      bonds together family, friends and strangers:
        Filipino society – the arrival of the Spanish – and uniquely celebrates the old and the new
                                                                                      all are welcome.                     Popular festival food is street food, for example puso
        cultures side by side.
                                                                                                            ISABELLE  H    (hanging packages of rice wrapped in leaves). Cebu City is
                                                                                                                           also famed for its barbecue.
                                                                               The Pagan wheel of festivals
                                                                 or centuries people all over the world have been using the turning points of nature as a cause to celebrate. Our pagan
                                                              Fancestors had their own traditions and customs, which soon trickled down into modern religion and heavily influences
                                                               the festivals we still celebrate today. The wheel was invented in the late 1960’s, for modern pagan practitioners to keep
                                                               track of the festivals. These old pagan festivals are still celebrated by neo-pagans. Here are just a few of the many
                                                                pagan festivals:
                                                                   Imbolc celebrates the first day of spring. The Celts of Ireland and England initially used it as a day to celebrate their
                                                                goddess Bridgid. Over the centuries Bridgid was adopted into Christianity as St. Bridgid. In Christianity, Candlemas is
                                                                celebrated on the same day to commemorate the ritual purification of the Virgin Mary (in Catholicism).
                                                                   Ostara, the spring equinox is usually celebrated on March 21st. It is a festival of new life and birth. Eggs were painted
                                                                and eaten on this day to symbolise new life. Easter likely evolved from the word Ostara. This festival correlates with Easter
                                                               and some modern traditions such as egg hunts and Easter eggs were taken from pagan practices.
                                                                 Lughnasadh (loo-na-sa) is commonly known as the harvest festival. Harvest festivals are celebrated throughout the year
                                                              by many communities. The Gaelic version is celebrated on August 1st  when the community comes together to offer the fruits
                                                              of the harvest to the gods. In Hinduism, the Harvest is celebrated in January and is called Pongal; farmers give thanks to the
                                                              sun god for a successful harvest.
                                                                 Mabon, the autumn equinox celebrates the second harvest and the start of winter. In Christianity the closest festival to
                                                              Mabon (which is no longer widely observed) is Michaelmas. Higan, is a six-day Buddhist celebration in Japan during the

                                                              September equinox. It is a time to remember the dead by visiting, cleaning, and decorating their graves. El Dia de los Muertos
                                                              is a similar festival celebrated in Mexico. The mid-autumn or moon festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese
                      Maths                                   communities honours the harvest moon and celebrates the abundance of the

                                                              summer’s harvest. In Judaism, the harvest festival is known as Succot and is
                                                              celebrated around September/October depending on the Lunar calendar.
              Combat Learning Loss with                          In our modern world where all celebrations are so different it is comforting to
            Expert private coaching in Hamsptead              think about our ancestors who celebrated similar festivals all over the world and
                  Online or face-to-face                      that helps to bring our global community together rather than dividing us by
                                                              religion or culture. The Pagan festivals were not influenced by material possessions;
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                                                                                                                                 The Burning of the Clavie which is an old Pagan
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                    Contact: 07811 254061                                                                             MADHU  K    11 January 2020.

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