Todas, er, todos los santos

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    IT’S PICNIC time again.

    Baskets of food, trays of chichiria edge out the flowers and candles atop the whitewashed tombs.

    It’s a family feast.

    Catered culinary delights in stainless food warmers laid atop flower-decked linened tables inside marbled mausoleums, many times complete with uniformed servers.

    It’s the kids gimmick time.

    Swinging, swaying, ooohing, aaahing to the beat of boom boxes blaring all that ear-splitting noise called rap.

    It’s the casino, a la pobre  rather than royale.

    Pekwa, tonghits, pusuy, sakla – the tombs again serving as convenient tables. For the sosyal, it’s mahjong, complete with the felt-topped, four-drawered mesa.

    It’s campaign time.

    2010 being an election year, cemeteries have become convenient political platforms of campaign inanities in screaming streamers reminding one and all to remember not so much the dearly departed loved ones for the day, as the putative candidates on election day.

    And for the devotees of both the archangel San Miguel and the markang demonyo, it’s libation time – in a clear parody of the moment, given the drink’s representation of heaven and hell – the very core of the celebration of the feasts of all the saints and all the souls.

    The Pinoy banal  (holy) there mutating to the English banal. The spirituous diluting the spiritual.

    Aye, with the loss of the campo santo  in favor of sementeryo in our local vocabulary, the holiness of the ground in which we lay our dead to rest lies now blasphemed in cemented edifices to vanities of material wealth.

    Really now, pray tell, do we still invoke the intercession of the saints and offer some prayers for our beloved dead on these holidays, er, holy days?

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

    And let Your perpetual light shine upon them.

    Requiescant in pace. Amen.

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