EDITORIAL: The Value of Religious Festivities
The almost spontaneous response of Bicolanos to the fiesta of Our Lady of Penafrancia is a manifestation of its multifaceted impact on our lives. Truth be told the celebration affects not only our religious faith but also our cultural, economic, and political affairs. Inevitably it also has relations with our educational ambitions and outlook of the future.
Our celebration of the fiesta of Penafrancia shows our cultural diversity from different groups and communities of Bicol. It fosters social cohesion and promotes our fading cultural heritage brought about by modernization and technological transformations. Hopefully, our celebration will help develop a sense of belongingness pride, and self-esteem.
On the economic front, religious festival like ours brings income opportunities for many people. It attracts tourists, pilgrims, and visitors from other places, local and foreign. It opens periodic employment for transportation, food, local souvenir products, entertainment events, and other festive services. It also catalyzes construction and improvement of our public infrastructure including private homes and real properties, all of them to impress our visitors.
Our fiesta offers a break from the routine stress in our daily life. It generates rare times for exhorting religious gratitude and generosity among Bicolanos, and it rekindles informal dialogues through family reunions and friends’ occasional celebrations.
THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCE OF OUR YEARLY CELEBRATIONS IS IF, AND WHEN IT IS USED AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR LAUNCHING PLATFORMS FOR ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN, POLITICAL ADVOCACY, AND INITIATION OF NEFARIOUS AGENDA, PRIVATE INTERESTS AND FAVORS. OUR LADY DETESTS THIS PART OF THE CELEBRATION.