This year, as a huge chunk of humanity strives to welcome the year of the Metal Ox in the safest way possible, Bacolod City, for one, will not be celebrating with the Bacoloadiat Festival as officials bid to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that has been in the country for more or less a year by now.
Considering that many societies are still expecting and/or experiencing a spike in Covid-19 infections due to the Christmas and New Year holiday gatherings and celebrations that were held despite being similarly discouraged, it is hoped that lessons have been learned and people are more cautious this time.
Scaled down celebrations will be expected from everyone, hopefully limited to nuclear families. Larger gatherings should be held in virtual spaces as much as possible, at least for this year. Rituals and traditions can still be followed, but extra care should be taken to avoid another series of super spreader events that could lead to another spike in infections that will undoubtedly delay the country’s recovery even further.
The ox, in Chinese culture, is a zodiac sign that signifies hard work and movements. Maybe if we work extra hard to continue complying with the health and safety protocols that we’ve been following for almost an entire year, our movements that have been severely restricted can finally be restored before this year ends.
Although the past year has been among the most challenging we have faced, the coming year could be even more so as the world strives to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new start that comes with a New Year celebration gives us reason to be optimistic as we prepare to face the expected challenges of the coming months.*