Thursday, August 10, 2006

Under the shadow of the Sto.Nino

Religion in Lianga, particularly Catholicism, is deeply intertwined in the town's social, political and cultural life. The predominantly Catholic majority has the Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus as the town's patron saint and honors the saint with a town fiesta every August 15. That, of course, causes the town to go into a frenzy of celebration that includes all the local folk - Catholics, non-Catholics and unbelievers not exempted.

I am always intrigued at the devotion Filipinos in general and Lianguenos in particular have for the Child Jesus. Some might say that the patron saint's child-like qualities appeal to Filipinos because they, as a people, love children, and the idea of a child patron saint is attractive to them. After all a child, even for a patron saint, has to be more tolerant and forgiving of sins as well as more generous in the granting of favors and petitions.

But one thing is definitely clear, religious sensibilities aside, the fiesta, despite the economic difficulties, does provide an excuse for celebration - a time for excess in a time of want and a chance to simply have fun and indulge in the good things while setting aside for the moment the specter of a world going mad.

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