So finally, the plates and glasses are back inside their cupboards where they will hole up for the rest of the year until the next fiesta. By now the leftovers after being served on table four times in a row after the fiesta are (thank goodness) finally fated for the pigs. The floors are swept and mopped and every remnant of the fiesta including the carnaval are slowly and without any trace of sentimentality swept away for good. All we’ve got left are the memories and some bitter lessons which if we allow ourselves to learn, would make our fiesta next year a bit more pleasant and significant. Lessons like, “I should have gone early to mass to avoid the traffic jam, I should have served fish rather than meat to please our aging boss, I should have added more of this and more of that . . . .”
However, more than these thousand petty things, I would like to point out one thing we could have been missed out in our celebration. And what is this: we should have simplified things.
Through the years of celebration, our fiesta has acquired thick layers of superfluosity which tended to diminish its essentials. Why could we gladly and willingly spend for external trappings and hesitate to spend for a what is truly essential? Why can we get so excited in celebrating a feast and all the while forgetting the work that should have underlied the festivity, the reason for such festivity? When Jesus constantly hounded the Pharisees because of their attachment in observing the externals, he did so because the attitude will be there for all times. It was a warning we have always missed.
The more a religion becomes excessive the more it becomes concerned with non-essentials, and the more it forgets what is truly important. It pronounces what is purely human tradition as dogma, and mere apparels and adornments become rubrics. When religion becomes superflous it becomes more concerned with petty things like how do I look, what will people say to me if I do this, is this good for my image, will the people like it? The essentials of the feast could get lost in these trappings which we make for ourselves. No wonder the theme for our festivity is “Sin-o si Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria?” Irony of ironies. She got lost on her feast.
Simplify, simplify! - this is the call of the times and the only means to become authentic.