Modern Homemakers

Why We Don’t Need To Celebrate With The Whole Barangay

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Do we really have to invite the whole barangay and family whenever we have a celebration post-pandemic?

It’s no secret Filipinos love celebrations. Graduation from Kindergarten? Throw a big party! Christening after-party? There’s a reception and a play area for the kiddies. Debuts back then even involved the parents inviting all their friends to meet their kids—as part of the tradition. But it’s always been a nagging question in our minds: every time we want to celebrate something, do we have to invite the whole barangay?

Post-pandemic moving forward, that’s definitely going to change.

Why Filipinos Tend To Invite the Whole Barangay To Celebrate

Filipinos inviting everybody to their celebrations started as far back as pre-colonial times. Without technology, there was no way of people knowing who did what. The celebrations informed those nearby about the changes—similar to how the news would through articles. Besides, receiving an invitation from another tribe meant that they saw one another as allies.

In the Spanish era, celebrations served more as a networking purpose rather than commemorating the joyous occasion. It would also be considered “shameful” or nakakahiya not to invite those in the barangays or barrios as the merry-making would be loud. If there’s going to be a lot of noise, might as well include everybody.

Filipinos also hate the feeling of being lonely. They don’t like the idea of anybody being sad within the premises thus, dragging even those who would rather bury themselves into their blankets.

But what if you have a contagious virus on the loose?

COVID-19 set the stage for how celebrations needed to be changed. While Filipinos still retained the feeling of wanting to include everyone, they now had the technology to assist. Unfortunately, not everyone was on board the technology train—especially grandparents. We give physical invites only to those who have roles in the celebration. Unfortunately, some took it personally why they were not invited.

The Sincerity of an Invite

Being invited, as many of those from the older generation see it, is a great honor and joy to share with everyone even if they’re not close. But the pandemic revealed some cracks found in the apparently flawless family image. Many relatives (or the other members of the barangay) expressed hurt at the lack of invitation. And since hiya plays a large role in Philippine culture, it eventually began to reveal the dirty laundry hiding beneath the perfect exterior.

COVID-19 forced some families to take a more honest stance on how they felt about their family members and relatives. Some began to realize that the invitations were more to “keep the peace” and not to make enemies out of anyone. But Filipinos also hate confrontation, not wishing to appear as the source of the fighting. COVID-19 served as a socially-acceptable excuse not to invite the whole barangay to the celebration.

However, some still remain stubborn and insist on the invitation.

How do we deal with the barangay that demands an invite?

One of the few ways we can do it is to have smaller celebrations. Especially for the elders who are more at risk, sometimes it’s better to hold it in their homes. Keeping the schedule free from any outings at least a week before should lower the risk of infecting them. For family members who we aren’t too comfortable with, it’s probably better to keep the celebrations so small and repeat to those invited not to tell everybody.

That, and remember: not EVERYTHING needs to be posted on social media. Moreover, there’s a reason why social media has something called “privacy settings”.

Post-Pandemic Celebrations: Finding the True Reason To Celebrate

While it appears that the pandemic forced us to celebrate, it also allowed many of us to re-evaluate our relationships with other members of the barangay and family. Some of our kids might even find themselves more comfortable without the rest of the family there due to some conflicts. It may hurt for a while but sometimes, there’s pain before finding some real peace and quiet for the family.

More about family issues? Check them out here!

Being Family is Not a Free Pass to Be Toxic
“Tigas ng Ulo Mo!”: How To Parent Stubborn Kids Without Breaking Them
Gaslighting: What It is and How Parents Can Avoid It