With the on-going busyness in preparation for the Golden Week Festivities leading up to the transition of leadership in the imperial family, there is much reason for the residents of Japan to be excited and to be in festive spirits.
And while nationalistic spirits are high, the timing could not be any better for even the Filipino community living in Japan to share a glimpse of their own people’s cultural identity through a festival held earlier this month to showcase Filipino pride and the country’s colourful traditions.
Philippine Cultural Identity Celebrated in Japan by Filipino Communities
The Philippines is known for its multitude of festivals also known as “fiestas” celebrated nationwide all throughout the year carrying themes such as celebration of good harvest and remembering patron saints and key figures in the Bible, as shared in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
Bringing this colourful Filipino culture tradition abroad, the Filipino community in Japan celebrated the third edition of Pistang Pinoy last week in Shizuoka, entertaining around 10,000 Filipinos and Japanese with a day-long celebration and reintroduction of Philippine cultural identity.
Consul General Robespierre Bolivar acknowledged the success of the annual event, noting that it was very well received by the Japanese people who visited, especially since there was a cultural performance by multi-awarded Dumaguete-based Sidlakan Dance Company.
The yearly event, which was organized by the Association of Pinoy Volunteers for Assistance, saw around 69 booths selling Filipino food, handicrafts, and other products.
The event kicked off with “Tagsibol,” a concert show held on the night of April 13, which featured modern jazz-inspired interpretations of classic Filipino dances and mythology, including Si Malakas at si Maganda, Mamanok, Tinikling, Singkil and Masskara by the Sidlakan Dance Company.
During the event, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V highlighted the fact that the Philippine fiesta is known to the world as a colourful, dynamic and enjoyable experience.
He further pointed out that just like Filipinos, the Japanese, too, have wonderful ways to welcome spring and that their traditions are just as colourful as the season to celebrate. And while the Philippines only has two seasons unlike Japan, the fiestas we celebrate back home are just as meaningful, and as symbolic, as the traditions that Filipinos who live in Japan have adopted.
Laurel also emphasized that each festival celebrated by either countries is unique. And for Filipinos, these festivals highlight wonderful aspects of the Fiilipino identity, and most importantly – each festival strengthens our community spirit – our Bayanihan spirit.
For his part, Bolivar explained that the theme for the event, “Tagsibol” (or spring in Filipino), fittingly encapsulates the status of the Philippines – which is seeing an economic resurgence at the moment.
The consul general also pointed out that the embassy took this event as an opportunity to field a Consular Outreach Team to Shizuoka to take advantage of the significant number of Filipinos who joined the festival, where at least 516 Filipinos availed themselves of various consular services.