The past few days, I’m reminded by how important it is to keep one’s cultural traditions alive, that a part of one’s present life is that cultural tradition, passed down from family to family member, over the years.
I spent a large part of Thanksgiving at my folks’ place, and for the first time in a long time, the place was not teeming with people: too many family members in different parts of the world these days, and considering the group nature of the usual Filipino, I stuck around longer at my folks’ place than I had intended because the house seemed so lonely as it was, with just my parents, my brother, my two sisters, my brother-in-law, and my nephew. And then, when I realized that the Hubby and I were running late to our neighbors’ small Thanksgiving celebration, we left as quickly as we could to be with them as well.
“Family” is much larger than nuclear families for the Filipino. Love of neighbor is a large part of Filipino identity, reinforced by the brown Catholicism that informs our culture. I find it interesting that the article pointed to the Filipino shaman as the pinnacle of the Filipino, who is only in tune with himself when he is in tune with others around him, who is truly only happy when he is helping others be happy. That is our strength, and, as the article suggests, perhaps that is our weakness. But, however one sees it, it just is, and for me, a little Filipina, it is what explains a lot about me.