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