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In the culture of the Filipinos, there are evident influences. These influences set it apart from the other nations or cultures. These influences manifest themselves in the robust life that embodies the vibrant history of the nation, close family ties, and influences from the colonial masters. The paper focuses on the significant spheres of life where the influences are most evident. The paper will look at the robust culture of the Filipinos from different angles as outlined .
The national identity of the Filipinos comes out visibly in the cultural sophistication and diversity that is common among the population in Philippines. Cities designs that the people employ in their construction are the ultimate expressions of the desire of the people to express them. Urbanism is evident in Manila the capital city of Philippines. Manila qualifies to be viewed as a dangerous city for its own citizens. With millions of people living in the city, there is heightened pollution and other vices that make the city risky for the people. However, the notion held by many people that the city is a death trap is a fallacy. The city also acts as an incubator for the culture of the people. Urban culture is divergent from the conventional village culture. The views of the urbanites lean towards the western influences. Melanesian culture is also evident in the Philippines (Rodell, 2002). The people are distinct in their looks in that they have blond hair that is mostly found in Europe. This distinct ethnic group adds to the diversity of the Filipinos. The other group of people that adds to the diversity in the area includes the Austronesians. They are among the minority tribes in Philippines (Rodell, 2002).
Philippines are made up of 7107 islands found on the Pacific Rim in Southeast Asia. The major islands account for the greatest share of inhabitants with most of the islands uninhabited. The volcanic nature of most of the islands makes them uninhabitable. The country borders china, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. There are over 175 listed languages in Philippines. Four of them do not have any known speakers. However, there are few known speakers of the indigenous language. This factor coupled by the difficulty in difficulty in determining the exact language to use led to the adoption of English as the official language. Filipino is also used in most of the urban areas. This language is a standard version of Tagalog (Rodell, 2002). The population of the Philippines is eighty one million as per 2000 census. Life expectancy in the nation is 67 years. The most important symbols for the Filipinos include the national flower, the flag and the heraldic code. However, the most significant symbol is the national flag that has white, red and blue colors. Flag ceremonies take place daily in schools and once per week in governmental offices (Rodell, 2002).
Rice is the staple food for the Filipinos. It is not a meal unless rice features therein. The crop also features among the primary source of livelihood for the population. Unemployment is rampant in the country. Most of the people that have some form of employment rely on agriculture, fishing and forestry. The remainder of the employed people relies on mining and light industries for their livelihoods (Rodell, 2002). Christmas and Idd fitr and Idd Mubarak are among the principal ceremonies for the people depending on the faith that they profess. The independence celebration is the most important nonreligious ceremony. However, the people have different celebrations conducted by the individual tribes or clans.
Social classes exist in the Filipino society. The ranking of a person into any of the classes depends on the economic power that he, or she bears. Education is also relevant in determining the class of a person (Rodell, 2002). The political system has some influences from the western nations. However, the democracy in the country is always under attack since the country has witnessed many conflicts in the past that pit the government against the guerrillas and the military. The common trend of war made the country develop codes on the flag that indicates the times of peace and war. This aspect tellingly points towards the precarious nature of the government military relations. The representative government accords a lot of respect to the military class as it is evident in the government spending (Rodell, 2002).
Like most of the nations in Asia, the gender roles in Philippines are distinctive. Men play different roles from their female counterparts. The traditional role of the men is to fend for their families. The women take care of families by playing the general yet crucial role of homemakers. The traditional roles of either gender are under constant changes. The changes are indicative of the extent of the western culture influence on the people (Rodell, 2002).
The primary job demands make most of the people living in towns to leave the children with their parents in the rural areas. This approach to infant care places the burden on all the family members. The fact that the children stay with their parents makes it imperative that the children have to attend the preschool years with their elder relatives. The Filipinos lay a lot of emphasis on education since it is the surest way of gaining upward mobility. This approach to education is the main reason behind the high literacy levels among children under the age of ten years. The education system displays both eastern and western influences. The children from the poorest families do not attend school despite education being compulsory to all until the attainment of 12 years. The elementary education takes six years while secondary education takes four years. It is rare for public schools to have kindergartens and preschools. The language used in the schools includes Filipino and English (Rodell, 2002).
Filipinos are deeply religious people. They profess Christianity, Islam, and traditional religious beliefs. The majority of people are Christians mostly Roman Catholics. The minority religions are the Sunni Muslims are among the minority religions. In roman Christian homes, the members say the rosary at 9 pm. The children grow up with the knowledge and practices of the Roman Catholic. There are also a few protestant factions. The most practiced rituals are the customary Muslim and Christian rituals although there are some people that believe in the traditional faith healers. Burial rituals have a pivotal role in the society since the people believe in life after death (Rodell, 2002).
The ruling classes have provided the people with means of accessing medical care with ease. This feat was made attainable by the use of subsidies to enable all the people access medical care at no cost irrespective of the economic power of the people. This is the main driver behind the high life expectancy. The males have a life expectancy of 64 years while the females have life expectancy of 70 years (Rodell, 2002).
There are different secular holidays that the Filipinos celebrate. Happy New Year is a holiday that the people celebrate with their families this day is combined with the Rizal Day on 30 December. Happy New Year is celebrated by use of firecrackers and gunfire sounds. The fall of Bataan Day is the other significant holiday in the Philippines. This is an observation of the death of Bataan. The people also celebrate Labor Day. The other holiday that has a lot of significance among the Philippines is the Independence Day that celebrates liberation of people from the Spanish rule. The Filipinos of Chinese descent observe the New Year in the Chinese calendar. However, this is not a national holiday. Islamic festivals are also relevant for the Filipinos that profess Islam (Rodell, 2002).
Rodell, P. (2002). Culture and customs of the Philippines. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
This paper examines the cultural practices of the Nacirema people who live in sections of Canada and Mexico. Of particular interest are the body rituals carried out by medicine men and spiritual healers who hold prestigious status in this community and on whose shoulders the wellbeing of the community squarely rests.
Keywords: The Nacirema community, body rituals, culture.
The Nacirema community has several rituals and practices that can only be described as primitive at best and barbaric at worst. Among some of their practices that are particularly revolting include their fixation with the mouth which they, apparently believe plays a dominant role in their social relationships. As such, they believe that the mouth should be taken care of which is well and good, but the activities that they engage in to "take care" of the mouth include rubbing bundles of hog hairs mixed with other magical powders (toothpaste) in the mouth. Additionally, they have mouth rites where mouth men (dentists) dig holes in their patients' teeth to exorcise evil spirits that are believed to exist in the mouth (Miner, 1956).
In other instances, women bake their heads (blow dry) for extended periods of time as part of ritualistic practices which for the uninitiated seems much more like sadomasochistic tendencies rather than spiritual experiences meant to soothe and ease the pain of their patients. In fact, in some cases, these rituals are believed to contribute to the high mortality rate witnessed among the Nacirema to the extent that small children object to visiting latipso temples (hospital). Among the Nacirema, nudity is a highly private matter, and even copulation between couples happens without their nudity being exposed, but during some of these rituals, the neophytes are forced to be naked while in the temple. The import of these practices are hard to fathom, but we can only conclude that Miner's prognosis of these practices as masochistic and even sadistic (Miner, 1956).
Most of these habits are useless, and cruel because they don't have value. For example, how does baking someone's head make a person well? The issue of having a sick person walking naked in places where they are supposed to be getting get healed and cured of their illnesses is retrogressive and insensible.
Many cultures have habits and values that sometimes we are at a loss to explain their merit and logic. This paper has covered several practices among the Nacirema that we feel are archaic and primitive and have no logical basis. However, the same can be said for most cultures and, for example, in the United States the issue of racism continues to pervade the whole society yet anthropologists opine that race is a societal creation which was meant to justify the excesses of the dominant segment of the population (Boas, 2013). We might even question the ethical values of the American society when in the 21st century it still hasn't found a way to appreciate diversity (Lassiter, 2009; Wolff, Moore, & Marcuse, 1965).
I think what Miner is expounding in this article are the fallacies of cultural habits that characterize human existence. The twist is that while we can vilify the cultural practices among the Nacirema, we might fail to see the common denominator in some of our beliefs and value systems. The word Nacirema is ‘American' written backward, and Miner might have been illuminating the American society and how some of the activities we engage in are vanity (Miner, 1956).
Another body ritual among the Nacirema that is weird involves sick people visiting ootat shrines to have their bodies riddled with concoctions of dyes and subjected to prolonged strenuous hours lying on hard cold surfaces with the ootat specialist diligently splashing copious amounts of these colors into the skins of their patients. It sounds ironical that even after being subjected to such kind of torturous experiences, the ootat specialist demands free tokens in the form of gifts.
This article is a satire – it depicts the culture of American society in a manner that's not directly implied but which on deeper scrutiny reveals close symbolic representation between what is not obvious to us but which would seem odd to an outsider. Miner tactfully employs satire to expose some of the peculiar habits of the American society.
Boas, F. (2013). The Methods of Ethnology. Boise, ID: Angell Press.
Lassiter, L. E. (2009). Evolution and the Critique of Race: A Short Story. In Invitation to Anthropology (pp. 1-31). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Miner, H. (1956). Body Ritual among the Nacirema. American Anthropologist,, 1-5.
Wolff, R. P., Moore, B. J., & Marcuse, H. (1965). A Critique of Pure Tolerance. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
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