Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Importance of Rice Wine to the Igorot Family

Making rice wine is one of the important chores that an Igorot must learn in the olden days.  Not so much now because there is already too much wine in the stores that could be bought for consumption.  The rice wine is one of the necessities that an Igorot family must have in the house.  This is part of their tradition.  As a custom, rice wine is used when old men and women pray to the spirits.  It is very important then to have rice wine always ready.  The belief that the spirits around have something to do with circumstances happening in the community is part of the Igorot life and those who are rooted in the beliefs and practices never forget to talk to their dead when someone gets sick or something wrong is happening.  This is where the rice wine comes in handy.

I often thought that the rice wine that my parents dutifully made when I was a young girl was only for drinking but I soon realized that it is more than just that.

Being an educated woman didn't change my beliefs as an Igorot.  There are some practices that I cannot forgo because I believe that they are very useful in my daily life as well as they seem to protect me from the evil things around me.  I am a Roman Catholic but that doesn't mean that I have forgotten my own pagan beliefs.

I grew up watching my elders pray to the spirits we call "Anito" and to our dead ancestors and relatives.  Perhaps it would sound weird and to some funny and primitive but I have strong faith in the power of what people believe.  My father always prayed for us using a glass of rice wine or any wine available when we got sick.  And it really worked.

These plus many more practices, beliefs, traditions, and customs have become a part of my life that even when I moved to the city and finished my college education, I still made them a very important part of my daily existence.



1 comment:

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