"Of Faith and Luck"
Notes after visitng the feast of the Holy Nazarene
Fiesta, an occasion associated with faith and religion, also shows power relations between the elite and the masses. Ranging from parades and how it is regularly shown, fiesta has being deviated from its faithful backgrounds to invocation of patronage particularly those of the have not to the have.
And like any other fiestas, the feast of the most sacred Nazarene shows power relations especially with some of the elite trying to express faith same as those of the masses. Barefooted, clad in maroon, pulling the ropes to wiping the wooden statue, the community tries to be in one with the faith, yet actually using the lord for having their own personal luck.
Traversing from mid noon till night, the fiesta atmosphere in Quiapo reminds of the protest marches and EDM parties. But instead of militant chants were prayers, but in the narrowest lanes comes mainstream dance music continuously being blared aloud, while drummers playing their drums accompanying transsexuals dancing for money. Teenagers, particularly girls within the community or in other parts of Manila used the festivity for their meet-ups, some if not most do wear maroon tops featuring the lord yet wearing skimpy shorts underneath; they do bring their boyfriends whom happened to be devotees of the said patron, but expect the couple treat it as a a time for their date than a devotion to the lord.
Again, using the lord for their personal luck. People from all walks of life invoke their devotion, commitment to the faith just to gain another set of luck, be it for health, wealth, rather than forgiveness of sins and self renewal. Sorry to say this, but some, if not most of the devotees are sinners as well, expect some bursting their anger, sudden complain after a lost sandal, or even being pushed by a fellow devotee just to reach the statue and wipe its sacred wood; the devotee whom supposed to be as 'Christian' as others on that sacred occasion would be the one who is acting un-Christian like towards others particularly those of the needy and of the disenfrancised.
People may likely to oppose the fact that in fiesta comes power relations and pseudo-unity amongst classes. Expect Politicians and other celebrities sponsoring events from tarpaulins expressing joy with the feast to those of providing food for the pilgrims "for free." Perhaps to these people, like the ones trying to pull the ropes and reaching the statue, they're trying to appear good, or in traditional sense, making an indulgence for the forgiveness of sins, or worse, to make people appear better amidst all the dirty works commonly done. And the masses, are being described by the so-called "thinking class" as an unruly crowd with some deviating from their supposed faith. Pardon this person's incorrectness, but using the perspective of the so-called middle class would say that people from all walks of life nowadays, no matter how they are tryibg to appear "holy", aren't even practicing their faith seriously, but rather those of worldly desire as its driving force in using god and the occasion itself. Even the clergy would say that it is the attitude, the rowdiness, that undermines their faith to a certain patron, be it the Nazarene, the Perpetual Help, the Sto. Nino, or the saints and doctors of the church.
Perhaps Marx was right to say that the people treated faith as a sigh amidst the usual repression in a way privileged sinners consecrate their soiled hands with holy water or opening their loudmouths for the sacred bread and wine. But on the other hand, it is a preparation for a coming battle the Bible had saidth so.