Kapampangan Culture Essay

Death is the ultimate departure towards a union with this Universal force. Kapampangans believed in the idea of having a kaladua or a twin soul: One kalâ being his personal soul or lagyû, the other being his , the soul of the universe that lives through the land of his birth, his Indûng Tibuan, that sustains him in life and returns to earth at the hour of death.Remember how our elders used to scold us when we do not eat our supper, how our kaladua would mangalug ya kng cusinâ at night because it is hungry? The ancients believed that man has the ability to either consciously or unconsciously detach his other soul. They believe that it could travel to distant lands during sleep, or that it has the power to take the form of a gray butterfly known as kambubulag to seek help from friends and relatives when one is gravely ill or near death. Others believe in the power of the mangkukusim, ancient psychics who were known to have the power to send their souls to the houses of their enemies and do them harm.

The concept of kaladua would also explain the violent nationalism of the ancient Kapampangans. For them, man and his Indûng Tibuan, the land of his birth, are one and the same. Their souls are linked together intimately. They are twins. They are kaladua. Without the other, man dies a bitter death ‑ the death of a foreigner in his own native land.

Although death maybe the ultimate way to become a god, the ancients believed in humans who are more or less godlike, those who are nuan, “those who are overflowing with “. Kapampangans then believed that man is more or less nuan and must be respected accordingly. Aside from the elderly, those considered nuan by the ancients were the bayanî (warrior) who never lost a battle, the upright dátû, the powerful katulunan(seers) and mamalian (mediums), and members of the mapiâ or ancient nobility.

The way to show one’s respect is often through pamanyiklaud. This is done by kneeling on the ground and then pressing the kanuan, the forehead which is “the seat of “, on the pigalanggalangan or wrist of the one being offered respect. One’s rank is often times reflected by the galang or wristband one wears. If the one being respected is at a certain distance physically or in rank, one’s kanuan is pressed on the ground instead of the person’s wrist.

Fray Juan de Plasencia, a Spanish priest observing the legal practices of the ancient Kapampangans at the beginning of the Spanish era, was quite intrigued at why the ancient ones treated insult as the worst possible crime ever, and why it was often times repaid with death. If he took the time to understand the concept of nû, he would have understood that discourtesy then was not a mere question of forgetting one’s manners but was rather a question of sacrilege.

Religion is cultural. Culture is a collective expression of man’s ongoing relationship with his environment. When a religion is introduced, it naturally brings with it the culture from whence it came. There is no religion that could be totally abstracted from the culture it sprang from.

Christianity, which ultimately has its roots in Judaism, is a religion born of the desert. In the desert, the earth is death. Nothing grows from it but vipers and scorpions. So for the desert culture, the earth is evil. The intolerant desert soil would also account for the intolerant attitude of most desert cultures as expressed in their religions. In the desert, total and almost blind obedience to the head of the community is a matter of life and death, for he alone knows the trail to all the oases. To disobey is to be driven out into the harsh wilderness. Much like being excommunicated or being sent to hell. To stray away from the path is to end up dead in the hot desert sands.

Life in the desert comes in the form of rain. For the desert people, good could only come from the heavens. If there is a god, then god must come from heaven. The heaven sends thunder and lightning. The heaven rumbles like a man. So god for the desert people must be male. For them, god is a father in heaven, for like a father, he too remains distant from his children even though he provides for them.

The environment of Indûng Kapampangan are in total contrast to the desert environment. Naturally, the culture and belief system of the people here is in total contrast with the culture and religions born of the desert.

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