PASIG City, Oct. 31, 2015 – A Catholic youth leader believes it is just a matter of time before the entire city of Pasig—and the rest of the Philippines—rediscovers and embraces the real Halloween, with its saints and martyrs instead of ghouls and ghosts.
“This city councilor spoke to us earlier this year. He’s planning to make the activity citywide, probably by next year. And I heard that other barangays were also moved by our event last year,” said Khing Latoja Macaranas, referring to the “March of the Saints” he has helped organized since 2014 and more recently last Oct. 29, with members of the San Nicolas Sub-Parish Pastoral and Barangay Councils.
According to him, proof of the local council’s support for the activity was the permission it gave organizers to hold the start of the activity at Tanghalang Pasigueño grounds for free.
While he admits much of the Halloween festivities in Pasig like elsewhere has yet to be “saintified” and purged even of fairies and comic book superheroes, Macaranas is confident people will get to the saints sooner or later, given the positive feedback the parade has received from the locals.
Matter of time
“Of course, we can’t expect things to change overnight. Culture shock is one thing,” he said.
Macaranas, however, expressed joy that what little they have done has somehow made an impact.
“Last year, we struggled with a barangay since they wanted to push through with their own annual ‘old’ halloween trick or treat. We met with them many times but to no avail. But because of last year’s successful activity, they decided to stop the wrong Halloween and joined us this time. What’s more, they funded half of the activity. They volunteered to feed the participating children. They also took care of the prizes, half came from them and the other half from the city councilor,” he boasted.
From only 65 participants on its maiden year, Pasig’s recent March of the Saints more than doubled, with 195 toddlers and school children in saintly garb.
“I myself was moved by how adults went out of their way just to see their little ones in the parade. A grandparent told me she couldn’t care less about the prize at stake, as long as she saw her grandson dressed up like her patron saint, Padre Pio.
Macaranas said he and his co-organizers now toy with the idea of coming out with a March of the Saints for grownups, as suggested by members of their community.
Mission: Re-Christianize Halloween
Besides the parade program, the program came with a talk entitled “Why do we celebrate Halloween this way?” by Bro. Paulo Magisa, founder of Family Rosary Crusade Youth Ministry (FRC-YM) – Philippines and the Knights of St Michael (KSM).
Macaranas shared that listeners, including the parade participants, their parents, and others, never knew until then that Halloween (All Hallows’ Even) is actually a Christian celebration.
“After the talk everyone was clapping. It has reaffirmed us in our mission of rooting out everything that is wrong with ‘secularized’ Halloween. It inspires us all the more to evangelize the whole community,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)