Thesis Statement: The celebration of the beliefs and traditions of Christmas in Manila, Philippines, by the Catholic community, causes risks in the over-all well-being of its celebrators, which may be avoided through information. I. Christmas is celebrated in Manila mainly by the dominant resident Catholics/Christians. A.
The industrially active Manila, a populated city, united by the Filipino language, central to the National Capital Region, is the capital of the Philippines. B. Christmas, a celebration brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards, is an international occasion accompanied with different beliefs and traditions.II. Christmas beliefs and traditions/practices pose threats/potential danger to the health of the people.
A. Psychological risks may be caused by the stresses of traffic and things to be accomplished, as well as the stresses of coping with emotions, changes in light associated with the season and unexpected events. B. Physical hazards may come from decorations, automobiles, food preparation, pamamasko, gifts of toys [for kids], usage of firecrackers/fireworks and participation in the procession on the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
C. Physiological threats issue from food, liquor, parties, germs and environmental factors, such as chemical elements in the atmosphere and the weather/temperature. III. Knowledge of the health hazards of celebrating Christmas the Filipino way in Manila plays a significant role in the prevention of these. The City of Manila Manila is the capital of the Philippines, lying on the eastern shores of the Manila Bay, surrounded, clockwise from the north, by Caloocan, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay City.
It is composed of sixteen administrative districts namely, Tondo, Binondo, Quiapo, San Nicolas, Sta. Cruz, Sampaloc, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Port Area, San Andres, San Miguel, Pandacan, Sta. Ana and Sta. Mesa (“Manila: Portrait…”). Manila has a wet season, lasting from late May until November, and a dry season, from December to late April (“Manila” Encyclop? dia Britannica). The nation’s major financial, governmental and cultural institutions are located in the city (“Manila” WebCite).
There are numerous hotels, scientific and educational institutions, recreation centers and temples of various religions found throughout (“Manila Religion” Maps of World). Manila is known for producing textiles, clothing and electronic goods, refined sugar, coconut oil, chemicals, food, and tobacco, and publishing and printing (“Manila” WebCite; “Manila” Encyclop? dia Britannica). Manila uses Filipino and English as both are official languages of the Philippines (“The Constitution…”) and has a total population of 1, 660, 714 persons as of August 1, 2007, translating to a population growth rate of 0. 8 % for 2000-2007 (2007 Census).
It is dominated by people following Roman Catholicism, the main religion of Philippines (“Philippines” Encyclopedia 720b). Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism & Judaism are others followed by the rest of the population. The Philippine Christmas Christmas is a celebration of the Catholics/Christians honoring the birth of their Savior Jesus Christ. It was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards in 1521 but only in 1525 did the Feast of the Nativity become official.It was “easily assimilated by the … natives,” accommodated and modified to fit in the local practices (Alejandro, Chorengel 12). Christmas in the Philippines, or “Paskong Pinoy”, the longest in the world, lasts from December 16 to the Sunday following the New Year (Epiphany), or from the Christmas Eve (December 24) to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (the Sunday after January 6 or the Monday after Epiphany if both land on the same date) (Alcantara).
Christmas is a feast characterized with merry-making through food and drinks and the sharing and/or giving of gifts, money and opportunities.It is a time for rest, relaxation and learning of the true meaning, importance and application of values and virtues. These include simplicity, humility, holiness (unity with God, his presence within a person), openness, genuine kindness and goodwill, and optimism. Christmas is also a time for renewal, hope, love and service, a time for relationships with family and friends, a time to be happy. The traditions of Christmas include the Simbang Gabi, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the Epiphany or the Three Kings and the Baptism of the Lord.
A relatively new tradition is the Christmas parties. Simbang Gabi, also known as Misa de Gallo (Rooster Mass), is a series of early morning masses from December 16-24 celebrated “to welcome the birth of Jesus Christ” (“Simbang Gabi”). Lights and lanterns fill the streets and rice cakes and salabat are usually being sold outside churches for the mass-goers. Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31) are usually accompanied by midnight masses and feasts where families partake of the abundance of food, drinks and liquor.The feasts are called the Noche Buena and Media Noche for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, respectively. Parties are held.
It is said that “esta noche es noche buena, y no es noche para dormir” (This night is a good night, and not a night for sleeping) (Alejandro, Chorengel 20). Further, the New Year’s Eve is celebrated with loud noise-making most commonly with the use of firecrackers and fireworks, although alternatives, such as torotots and pots and pans, are promoted. This noise-making is done so as to drive out evil spirits.A list of other beliefs/superstitions is shown on the Tables and Lists Page. Christmas Day (December 25) is a day for family reunions, paying respects, gift-giving and parties (Alejandro, Chorengel 20).
It is a continuation of feasting done the night before. Considered a time for renewal/rebirth, people make it a point to clean their houses and dress in new garments on this occasion (“Christmas in the Philippines” 33-34). It is a day for happiness and gaiety. Usually, once Christmas season begins, parents take their children to their relatives to be fed and given money as aguinaldo or gift.This is pamamasko and it is most apparent during Christmas Day. New Year’s Day (January 1) is usually an ordinary day when people hear mass, visit their relatives, party or rest.
Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings is the culminating feast of the Christmas season for the majority. It is another day of gift-giving when children usually are given sweets, fruits and coins. The Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas season in the Liturgical Calendar. In most years, the Feast of the Black Nazarene (January 9) is celebrated within he Christmas season. It is celebrated in Quiapo, Manila where millions of devotees flock and participate in the procession of the Nazarene’s image barefooted. Masses are held.
Participation is believed to bring peace and harmony among families, long life, good health, deliverance from calamities and disasters and prosperity, joy and love among nations (“Black Nazarene”). A more recent tradition is the Christmas Parties. These are held before institutions go on Christmas break. It allows the people to celebrate Christmas not only with family but with friends.Gift-giving is a usual activity and so are lavish eating and drinking. Other activities typical of Christmas are the decoration of establishments with colorful lights and trees, the singing of Christmas songs and carols, and the Christmas shopping since gift-giving is somehow requisite.
Concerts and other holiday programs are also facilitated. The Possible Health Hazards There are psychological (emotional), physical and physiological hazards that celebrating the beliefs and traditions of Christmas in Manila may entail.Psychological risks may be caused by the stresses of traffic and things to be accomplished, as well as the stresses of coping with emotions, changes in light associated with the season and unexpected events. At Christmas time and even before, people go to different places and stores to buy decors and gifts or attend social gatherings. Roads congest as many people are on their way; most are in hurry. Rushing and over preparation may cause unwanted and unexpected complications in the heart conditions and hypertension.
Being stuck in traffic causes frustrations.Things to be accomplished usually include and incorporate the utilization of money, the finding of gifts, and the facilitation and attendance of events. Hard-earned money being given to others and/or being spent on gifts and events or having to buy new garments specially for the celebration is stressful for many. Dra Ponayo refers to this as “sakit sa bulsa” or pain in the pocket.
When expenses do not match budgets, it causes disappointments. Money, thoughtfulness, and creativity are considered necessary for buying and/or making appropriate and inexpensive gifts to be given to family, relatives, friends, coworkers and the like.Price hikes may occur and last minute shopping or overshopping may be done adding to the stresses of budget and schedule. For those that do not possess thoughtfulness or creativity, purchasing/acquiring gifts might be a worrying situation. Finding gifts is a tiring physical activity as it is mentally.
These gifts are, in a way, required for attendance in Christmas parties/reunions. Other factors of events (parties/reunions), such as decors, food, music, activities, and invitations, that also need much thought and deliberation, at times, cause anxiety. Christmas is emotionally stressful because of the mindset that it is a time for happiness.People find it necessary to conceal their troubles, their loneliness and depression from their families and relatives just to make Christmas an enjoyable experience for everyone else. This, however, is not applicable to all as some may choose not to celebrate Christmas at all.
Emotional frustrations also arise when celebrations/activities don’t go according to plan. Some people feel gloomy because the extra hours of darkness acquainted with the season “affect serotonin, the brain chemical that keeps” people “in a good mood and turns off” their “appetite” (“Sniffles and Sneezes”).Another stressful experience for parents is when their daughters attend the Misa de Gallo and come home pregnant (Ponayo). It may be unlikely, but it does happen because it is, somehow, only during the midnight masses that teenagers get to go out early in the morning without adult supervision, most of the time. Physical hazards may come from decorations, automobiles, food preparation, pamamasko, gifts of toys [for kids], usage of firecrackers/fireworks and participation in the procession on the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Lifting of decorations is strenuous, especially for people with bone and/or joint ailments.Decorating atop ladders is risky. It might result in unexpected falls which in turn might cause injuries. Add to that, overworking for the decorations bring fatigue.
Holiday lights, one of the two most common causes of household fires, may cause electrical shocks and burns and even fires if left on (“Greet the New Year”). It is advised that lights must be from registered and legitimate stores to ensure its safety (“Health Advisory”). Automobiles cause harm in the case of accidents or crashes brought about by people in rush, driving fast or by people driving drunk from the parties they’ve attended.Road traffic injuries are common (Destura).
Travelling great distances, therefore sitting for long periods of time, can raise the risk of blood clot in the legs which is not desirable (“Heart-Healthy Holiday”). Food preparation may cause common damages such as burns and abrasions. The use of torotot or horn, for noisemaking in the New Year’s Eve, is no longer completely safe for it is associated with a “possible choking hazard” as parts of it are easily removed (“FDA advisory”). Firecracker and stray bullet injuries and fireworks ingestion are common and especially dangerous.The injuries include amputations and blast burns.
Death also poses threats. In fact, the New Year revelry for this year is considered the “deadliest in 20 years with three people killed” (“DOH: deadliest New Year revelry”). Both pamamasko and the procession of the Nazarene are fatiguing to the feet. Worse is the case of the procession.
Walking barefoot along with millions of others is a lot more difficult for there is high probability that one’s feet will be stepped on. Very high population density during the march suggests difficulty in breathing and moving.There may also be physical exhaustion, heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke (Destura). Scratches and wounds may be obtained, and respiratory and circulatory illnesses may be triggered.
Toys given to children may also cause harm if it has parts that are pointed, sharp, poisonous, easily removed, or possibly, parts that are small that may be took in and clog the throat, or may prick the eyes, nose or ears (“Health Advisory”). The Christmas season also has its physiological effects. These may be from food, liquor, parties, germs and environmental factors, such as chemical elements in the atmosphere and the weather/temperature.Christmas is generally a season for feasting, hence, the abundance of food and liquor. Common problems with food are overconsumption and low nutritional value of most foods which may lead to undesirable weight gain. “Holiday foods tend to be either high in fat, salt or sugar” (“Heart-Healthy Holiday”).
Asst Prof Destura and Dra Ponayo are aware that stomach upset, indigestion, and diarrhea are some common cases in the season. There may be exacerbations of hypertension and ulcer symptoms during this time, as perceived by Mr Destura.Food contaminated with “microbial and chemical elements” pose threats as it “can cause food-borne diseases like hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid fever, amoebiasis as well as poisoning from toxic chemical substances”. Unsafe foods may be from preparation in unclean areas, in unclean bowls and utensils using unclean hands.
Food may be contaminated when juice from uncooked meats drip on it, when it is not covered, allowing flies and other insects to approach it, and when it is bought from unreliable or unapproved sources (“FDA to consumers”).Alcoholic drinks, a trend in parties and occasions, also are causes of physiological problems. Alcohol tends to be high in calories (“Heart-Healthy Holiday”). Excessive consumption cause hangovers and may contribute to weight gain. Symptoms of hangover include headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue and shakiness. Alcohol drinking interferes with brain activity during sleep, trigger migraines, promote urination and lower blood sugar levels (“Handle a Hangover”).
Liquor may cause hepatitis, and minor and major injuries, like falls and car accidents (Ponayo; Destura). Parties that last until morning also interrupt the body’s natural rhythm.Medications tend to be skipped and sleeping patterns, disrupted, which may have unexpected psychological effects. From these parties emanate unusually loud music which may cause hearing loss, cardiovascular and psycho-physiological problems, performance reduction, annoyance responses and adverse social behavior (“Hassam”).
Although for Asst Prof Destura, noise has no direct effect on a person’s health, it is said that massive noise pollution, created by the loud bangs and tremors (and blasting music), can disturb, upset, and scare humans and even damage the sense of hearing (Destura; Alano).Parties also cause fatigue. Germs are disease-producing and originate from objects and places people frequently use. These include pens and cellular phones. The six germiest places are the shopping cart (where E. coli was commonly found), the cutting board (with contain more harmful bacteria than the toilet seat), first-floor elevator buttons, ATM Enter key, the desktop, and the playground (“Sniffles and Sneezes”).
These places are where people often go all year round, including Christmas. Dra Ponayo reports of having many patients with respiratory/pulmonary problems throughout the year.This holds true during the Christmas season, but not exceptionally. The problems encountered during the season are infectious diseases, such as colds and coughs, and respiratory/pulmonary illnesses, like tonsillitis, bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, hypertension and heart diseases. Chemical elements that abound in the air during the Christmas season are mostly metallic and toxic, from vehicles and firecrackers.
These include arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc which are used for pyrotechnics.These form chemical smog that may persist for hours/days, which is especially hazardous for infants and children, pregnant women, and people suffering from chronic asthma (Alano). Arsenic, Barium and the other chemicals cause stomach irritations, skin changes/irritations, kidney damage, and even death. Other effects consist of vomiting and/or nausea, lung irritation, cancer, damages to the [central] nervous system, probable reproductive failures and subtle miscarriages, and DNA damage (Lenntech).
Further effects are listed on the Tables and Lists page.Smog, in general, can trigger difficulty in breathing, teary eyes, dry respiratory passage, runny nose, chronic bronchitis and severe asthma attack (Cervantes, Santos). Christmas season is relatively colder than the rest of the year. The cold depresses the immune system because the body’s resources go toward raising temperatures rather than warding off germs (“Sniffles and Sneezes”). These make people more vulnerable to colds. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels and may cause a rise in respiratory diseases.
Also, as the temperature drops, the risk of heart attacks increases (“Heart-Healthy Holiday”).