Tag Archives: celebration

Ooh Ah Up the Rah

Background: “Celtic Symphony” is a song performed by the Irish band, The Wolfe Tones. The song is sung at gatherings of Irish people. The line “Oh Ah up the Ra” is emphasized and belted out. The phrase is a declaration of support for the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Context: I witnessed my Irish friend’s family perform this song while at his house for Thanksgiving last fall. While singing songs after dinner, this song came on and all of his Irish family members sang it together, most of them quite drunk. My friend explained that it was one of the songs Irish people always sing together. “Oh Ah up the Ra” is basically a “big ‘eff you’ to the British,” he told me.

Main Piece:

Here we go again,
We’re on the road again,
We’re on the road again,
We’re on our way to Paradise,
We love the jungilty,
That’s where the lion sleeps, (yeeeaaaaahhhh)
For in those evil eyes,
They have no place in Paradise.

graffiti on the walls just as the sun was going down,
I seen graffitti on the walls( Of the CELTS, Of the CELTS),
Graffitti on the walls that says we’re Magic, We’re Magic,
Graffiti on the walls…….Graffiti on the walls……..
And it said…………..
Ooh ah up the Ra, say ooh ah up the Ra (x6).

Thoughts:

I felt quite a lot of jealousy while watching and certainly hearing my friend’s family sing this song together. Even the youngest of my friend’s cousins, at ages seven and eight, were singing at the top of their lungs as everyone paraded around the room. It is clearly a song sung with immense patriotism and pride. However, the reference to the IRA must infuse the song with a certain vigor, as nearly all of my friend’s family was still in Ireland during the British occupation and have lost friends and loved ones in the conflict. There is a juxtaposition between the hearty and jubilant performance of this song and the horrors and pain upon which the song is founded. While many nations sing songs in unison out of love for country and shared experience, it seems that the Irish certainly have the most fun doing it and doing it the loudest.

Death Anniversary Celebration

Background: The informant is a 54 year old man. He was born in Pampanga, Philippines. The informant grew up as Catholic, later converting to evangelical Christianity and becoming a pastor. He was exposed to the tradition by living in the Philippines. 

Context: The context was, when driving past a funeral procession, she was reminded of the tradition she experienced as a child.

Text:

PG: “During the the 10th anniversary, you know, for catholics, for catholics, if you know, you go to, uh, a church and ask for, uh, offer a mass, you know, you go to church to tell the priest that you want, uh, offer, you want to offer a mass for your, for the death anniversary of your loved ones, right? And then after that, we have, uh, like a celebration in the house, like invite people, friends and family, you know, to, like a party. And then after, and then, but before that, you, in the morning, you know, and also part of it is you go to the cemetery and offer flowers for the anniversary, so that’s the thing.”

Analysis:

Informant: The 10th anniversary is a major milestone when dealing with the anniversary of a loved one. It’s a time to commemorate the dead but also celebrate the person who has died. It doesn’t appear to be a sad celebration, but rather one that is enjoying what life has to offer. 

Mine: While death is a tragic topic, the communal gathering after the death of someone, or on their anniversary, in this case, serves to dispel the tragic thoughts and focus on the happier aspects. In the Catholic tradition, the death anniversary appears to be a moment to celebrate how one has lived, rather than mourn that they are gone. Additionally, it serves as a moment in time for everyone to gather together, whether it be extended families, neighbors, or other community members. Death traditions can actually serve to bring together people the most. Flowers are a traditional gift to leave on gravestones, once again counter to the idea of life ending, as flowers typically symbolize life. By giving flowers on the gravestone, it’s as if they are bringing the dead person back to life for the day, so that they are able to celebrate with them.

Saint Peter Parades

Background: The informant is a 54 year old man. He was born in Pampanga, Philippines. The informant grew up as Catholic, later converting to evangelical Christianity and becoming a pastor. He was exposed to the tradition by living in the Philippines. 

Context: The context was, calling the informant on the phone and asking him about his religious traditions or experiences.

Text:

EM: “In every city, in every city, in the Philippines, there’s a Peter, they call, there’s a saint.”

Me: “Fate?”

EM: “There’s a saint. Like Saint Peter, Saint Paul. In every city they celebrate one saint. Like in my, like in the Philippines, remember when you were there, you saw these boats that’s like, you went around June, remember? And there were, like, boats, like, how do you call that, parading? 

Me: “Yeah”

EM: “People are so happy and then they parading on the roads also. That is Saint Peter. It’s like celebrating their birthday or whatever like that ” 

Me: “So for the city that your mother is in, it’s Saint Peter?”

EM: “It’s Saint Peter”

Me: “What city does [your mother] live in again?”

EM: “Pampanga.”

Analysis:

Informant: For the informant, it’s a communal celebration that allows people to come together to celebrate their beliefs. It’s an interactive experience that stuck with him.

Mine: Religious (Catholic) folklore is extremely popular in the Philippines, to the extent it appears to be organized by the government, given that there are parades. Assigning a Saint to every city is similar to the concept of having a guardian angel, but instead there is a guardian saint watching over their moves. It can be seen as a sign of comfort, as with a good luck charm, because it’s comforting to think that someone is watching over every single move someone takes, guiding them from harm. Celebrating their birthday is a major celebration for the entire community to come together in their belief of one saint. Interestingly, the celebration is not done in relation to church or other religious institutions, but rather by parading and boats. It could be a result of the city being so large, that the festivities need to somehow incorporate everyone. Not everyone might be able to travel to a church, but everyone can be outside and witness the parade. It’s a tradition that truly incorporates everyone. 

To see another version: Tiatco, A. P. (2010). Libad nang Apung Iru and Pamamaku king Krus : Performances of ambivalence in Kapampangan cultural spectacles. 91–102.

Filipino All Saints Day 

Background: The informant is a 54 year old man. He was born in Pampanga, Philippines. The informant grew up as Catholic, later converting to evangelical Christianity and becoming a pastor. He was exposed to the tradition by living in the Philippines. 

Context: The context was, calling the informant on the phone and asking him about his religious traditions or experiences.

Text:

PG: All Saints Day, All Saints Day, is November 1st, because trick or trick is October 31

Me: Is All Saints Day kind of like your day of the dead?

PG: Day of the Dead, is like, is like the entire cemetery is full pack is like people goes there they’re like having a celebration you know fiesta is like celebration right? Yeah we fiesta, we piesta, we celebrate, it’s like a party. All saints day, all people goes to the cemetery we don’t do it in the house everyone goes there and all cemetery all over the world is full of people they edo the party there they bring boombox.

Me: You know how on day of the dead people create offriendas, the shrine looking things, do you guys do that”

PG: “Shrine looking thing? No, they just bring flowers and candles and make them lit all day”

Analysis:

Informant: For the informant, he seems very excited about All Saint’s Day and what it entails. It is a celebration of life and death.

Mine: in this celebration, it is significant because it crosses between life and death. There is no boundary to the celebration. Normally, secretaries are associated with dreary activities, but during this holiday, it completely changes the stereotype of it. Everything is lively and it changes the usual opinion on death. Death doesn’t always need to be something to be mourned but can also be celebrated because the person has lived a good long life. Traditions can make someone reexamine the context of something and see it from a new perspective.

Eritrean Wedding Dancing Tradition and Money

Background provided by DG: DG was born and raised in Redlands, California. Both of their parents were born in west Africa, but more specifically Eritrea. Eritrea is located on the Horn of Africa and adjacent to the Red Sea. They belong to a specific tribe of Eritrea, called Blen (spelled Blien). DG also identifies as being part of the Habesha ethnic group, which describes Roman Othodoc Christians in West Africa. After war broke out, both of their parents migrated to America. 

Context: DG was approached about folklore, which they shared in the middle of the day. They were very enthusiastic about sharing parts of their culture because not many people are aware of Eritrean tradition and culture. They explain a specific Eritrean wedding practice involving money and dancing. 

Main Piece Transcription of interview (contains the context of particular performance and additional background information):

DG: “ During the wedding … like the whole time … like if you’re dancing really well … they like stick money on you. And, typically … people like … really favor the bride and the groom … and like the bride and grooms’ parents … cause they’re like the ones that … spend the money. Ummm …. And they’ll just … like stick money on your forehead … or on your shirt … or whatever. That means … like you’re dancing … well … they do that the whole weekend.” 

Analysis: This custom is indicative of many Eritrean beliefs and values. One of them being is art of dancing. Dancing is often considered it own language because it conveys emotions and attitudes in a very physical and performative manner. DG explained how this custom rewards great performances, but seems to place an emphasis on recognition amongst peers. Another Eritrean value is the supportive community. DG explained how many would favor the groom/ bride and their parents because they are spending money on the wedding ceremonies. The whole community comes together to not only suport the union of two individuals, but also provide some form of financial support in a possible time of need. Lastly, it seems like Eritrean people are very physically affectionate. They are not shy about showing their appreciate to others who are dancing well by placing money on others.