By Jullie Yap Daza
By a confluence/congruence of events, today the 15th day of the second month is where three streams of our cultural life meet. It’s the eve of the Chinese New Year; it’s the day after Valentine’s Day, essentially an American tradition (some would say a Hallmark custom); it’s also the day after Ash Wednesday, a Judaeo-Christian rite that opens the season of Lent culminating in the great feast of Easter Sunday 40 days later.
This is who we are, a blend of cultures and civilizations plus a dozen (or more) other influences, predominantly Spanish, that distinguish us as a colorful, emotional, and, some would say, superstitious people. We believe in God as we believe in finding luck or being struck by it, as by lightning, or like falling in love at first sight. We are unique in this part of the planet. And we love celebrations, there being so many reasons, such as one canonized saint for each day of the calendar, why there’s an extravaganza of a festival at any given weekend where a beauty queen is crowned to rule for a day and a night, why our holidays are for Muslims, Chinese, Catholics, heroes, and martyrs claimed by no particular faith.
What a blessing, that we are free to greet one another “Merry Christmas” instead of the politically correct “Happy Holidays”! We are allowed to mention the name of God in public places, even if the Constitution separates Church and State. We mix religion with politics and vice versa. Who hasn’t mixed religion with animist or pagan beliefs?
As for feng shui? Ollay Aninio is a baptized Catholic who is feng shui master Lillian Too’s disciple and representative in the Philippines. “That’s the beauty of feng shui,” she said at Samahang Plaridel’s Kapihan at Manila Hotel, “it’s not a religion.” What it advocates is living in harmony with and within one’s environment – home, work space, family and friends.
Feng shui expert Princesse Fernandez remembers how Cardinal Chito Tagle pointed out that God created the world in seven days “in orderly sequence,” in the same way that feng shui encourages order and orderliness, cleanliness, peaceful co-existence.
On a day like today, and tomorrow, day one of the Chinese New Year, let’s be thankful for yet another fresh start. Kung Hei Fat Choi!