0174B: Whose New Year Is It?

Today marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, or better known as the Chinese New Year. By  now your social media feeds must have some degree of strange Chinese greetings - we can never fully agree on what the proper greeting since since there are so many Chinese dialects out there. Despite what devout Catholics Filipinos claim to be, we're pretty quick to embrace a lot of different practices from different cultures. It's a natural consequence of how the country is such a melting pot of so many different cultures - which is a nice way to say that we keep copying foreigners.

We admire Western popular culture and embrace their TV shows and movies. Folks plan out their houses using Feng Shui principles and businesses choose brand colors based on related beliefs. I think one of the few things that are innately Filipino involve the more pagan-inspired practices that have merged into primary religions. The recently concluded Black Nazarene hoopla has the almost shamanistic need to wipe the statue in order to gain some sort of lucky blessing as its central mechanic.

To be fair, it's not like Filipinos really started on these islands on their own. Most popular theories about how the country began involve different travelers that came by land bridges and boats and settled here - Malays with visiting folks from China and India thrown into the mix. Then we had 400 years of Spanish occupation, followed by American colonialism and a dash of Japanese war crimes while we're at it. We're a people who has learned to just adapt to whoever seems to have the power and we take in their culture as our own. Just listen to any Filipino who visits the US for the summer - he'll have an accent thicker than a Looney Tunes cartoon.

I don't really have a point to make here. I'm just ranting, which is always going to be a benefit of having a personal blog. If I did had a point, it would have something to do when people try to invoke "tradition" in order to justify something that we do in this country. We don't really have our own traditions - we have whatever practices we copied from everyone else.

We're a culture of mimicry and imitation.