When you say election it reminds me of the Christmas season. My “friend” in Facebook called it a town circus when I posted the photos during the election day. But for me, it’s more than that. Why? There are a great deal of comparisons between these two occasions and to my observation, I have enlisted some of the few Christmas activities that is “synonymous” to the election. Bear with me as I dissect each of those activities.
Christmas season: Filipino-Catholics celebrates the longest Christmas season in the whole world starting from December 15 until Epiphany (between January 2 and 8 the next year). As early as September, you can already hear Christmas carols being played on the radios.
Election campaign period: Early June, before the month of May the next year, aspiring candidates began to air their conspicuous 15-to-30-second TV campaign or “informative” commercials showing off what they have accomplished and what are the new laws they have passed during their office, subsequently the political jingle campaigns are being played in the radios.
Christmas season: Everyone’s talking about love and peace not war while smiles dangling on their faces. Second week of November, department stores, groceries, banks and other commercial establishments — big or small — have started dressing up their windows, rooms and even the smallest cubicles an employee can occupy with Christmas themes. From trees to stars, socks to gift boxes, lights to lanterns, angels to the Star of Bethlehem and etc. Everyone is at frenzy at this time of the year.
By December, Filipinos began to pile up in the malls buying gifts for someone and for themselves. Also at this time of the year, numerous Christmas activities are being organized such as corporate, family and peer-oriented parties, Kris Kringle, caroling and exchanging gifts to name a few.
Election campaign period: Everyone’s talking about love and peace, and occasionally war, while smiles dangling on their faces. But this time, instead of reindeers and snowman, humongous political ad campaign materials such as banners and billboards are being erected along national roads and highways. Some of these were being nicked at night and mostly at broad daylight by the squatters to use it as a support wallpaper to their shanties. Even Santa Claus’ massive body is not enough to counter the sizes of these billboards. Candidate’s posters like Christmas socks are being posted or hanged to every vacant space available on the wall. Long, colorful and voluminous banderitas or small flags with the candidate’s face on it acts like a thread of Christmas lights hanging on both sides of the streets.
During campaign period, candidates began to pile up to the streets — campaigning from province to province, city to city. And there is also what we call “vote-buying” or we can call it in a more subtle way as “gift-giving”. All candidates went all the way to the extent that they look stupid at all. They sing even they don’t really sing or hiring local-movie comediennes to ridicule them on stage.
The celebrated day
On Christmas day: It is usually a family affair. What about food? Yes, a lot of it. Need I say more on this topic?
On election day: Not only the voting precints in the Philippines are full of voters. Outside and inside are vendors and food stalls all lined up vying for the voter’s interest and attention. From pica-picas or finger foods to a normal meal consisting of steamed rice and selections of viands imaginable. This is the time where everyone’s profitable.
This is the day, second to Christmas I guess, where every Filipino is looking forward to. Only here in the Philippines.