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Philippine and Polynesian religion, completely eradicated?

Discussion in 'Oceanic religions DIR' started by Gaura Priya, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Gaura Priya

    Gaura Priya IRL

    Messages:
    4,612
    When I was younger, I had a great fascination with the Austronesian peoples, which make the present-day Filipinos, Indonesians, Taiwanese Aborigines, Maori, Tongans, Samoans, Hawai'ians, etc.

    But it is so sad that most of these countries, save Indonesia and Malaysia with Islam, have converted to Christianity. Or for the Kingdom of Samoa, the Baha'i Faith.

    One day, as I was looking up native Philippine religion on a whim, I knew that in Hiligaynon, the word for God is Kanlaon, or /kanla?on/. I was surprised by my discovery that this is the same probable word as Kanaloa (Hawai'ian), Tangaroa (maori), Ta'aroa (Tahitian), and others.

    It is funny that although these names share the same origin linguistically, each conception of this divinity was completely different, from the supreme God of the Ilonggos (my half identity; I'm half Ilongga and half Ilokana), to a volcano god for another.

    It is just absolutely sad that these beautiful religions were not sufficiently documented and mostly destroyed through missionary work. :(
     
  2. TommyDar

    TommyDar New Member

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    88
    Hi, Gaura Priya, I am an Indonesian and I share your same grief that our indigenous religions were wiped out by colonists. In the case of the Filipino people, it was the Spanish; for us Indonesians, it was first Arabs with Islam and then the Dutch.

    Personally I would like to see the revival of the indigenous animist faiths here in Indonesia as they are an important part of our Indonesian identity and predate both Islam and Christianity.

    In the moder times, the indigenous faiths are considered a part of Hinduism and actually, the beliefs of Kebatinan, Kaharingan, and Wiwatan and so forth were influenced by Hinduism from ancient times. In fact the traditional Indonesian culture has more to do with Hindu-Buddhism and Islam/Christianity are relative newcomers.
     
  3. Gaura Priya

    Gaura Priya IRL

    Messages:
    4,612
    Yeah, there's a lot of Hindu and Buddhist influence and culture in the more ancient Austronesian civilisations! I am not sure if it was existent in ancient Indonesian culture, but in the Philippine and many other Polynesian cultures, flower garlands were exchanged during marriage over the neck, which is the same as in Hindu tradition!

    There are also Sanskrit words in Indonesian and Philippine languages: diwata, guro, pag-asa, mukha, Bathala, etc. Also the belief in one Supreme God, but the worship of the gods beneath Him is like Hinduism also.

    However, it would be nice to see more indigenous faiths be protected. In any case, both you and I know that some of our indigenous Austronesian practices and beliefs still like within folk Islam or folk Christianity!
     
  4. TommyDar

    TommyDar New Member

    Messages:
    88
    In some places, the traditional belief persists. For example in the past the local animist spirits are considered a type of jinn, and tribes would also celebrate traditional local feasts as just as long as they said a prayer before and made sure all the foods were halal.

    In modern times however today because of likes to Saudi Arabia's Wahhabis, there are people who want to stamp out any syncretism. In the past some areas allowed for a combination of beliefs as long as one could say that they were not in conflict with Islam.

    I do not know the situation with Hinduism in any great detail, but I do know that the Hindus are much more open towards the incorporation of local beliefs and even the local gods, since they are all manifestations of Brahman. And Catholicism has shown a great deal of adaptation everywhere in the world.

    These days though we have many evangelical Protestants from America (missionaries) who can be quite puritanical as well, though I would say not as bad as Wahhabis.
     
  5. Gaura Priya

    Gaura Priya IRL

    Messages:
    4,612
    Ancestor spirits (anitos) from the Philippines:

    [​IMG]

    Apparently an ancestor statue from the Maori:

    [​IMG]

    Ancestor statue from Indonesia:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Gaura Priya

    Gaura Priya IRL

    Messages:
    4,612
    In most of the Filipino psyche, while there are little bits of superstition, more often than not, Christianity runs pretty deep in most Filipino blood.

    On one night of the year, many Filipinos (like my grandmother) would construct an altar for a loved one on All Souls Day (a Christian holy day) and offer a votive and food to eir soul. The practice is very similar to the altars in Mexico constructed during the Day of the Dead. Mind you, there were some linguistic and cultural exchanges between Philippines and Mexico back then!

    Otherwise, most Filipinos do not carry amulets (instead, they use Scapulars, saint medals, holy water, etc.); no longer do they perform ancestor veneration - instead, they honour the saints and esteem Jesus Christ. The elaborate palanquins that carry icon-figures of Jesus, Mary, and/or a variety of saints have replaced most of the indigenous beliefs and practices. And as far as I know, while many believe in spirits, animism is non-existent even as a belief system!
     
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