Source: Business World Online
More Filipinos -- particularly Roman Catholics, the poor and the youth -- consider Christmas more important than Easter Sunday, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey made exclusive to BusinessWorld.
The SWS survey, fielded on March 4-7, found that 57% of adult Filipinos chose Christmas compared to the 36% that favored Easter Sunday when asked "In your opinion, which between the two is the more important day for you? (Christmas or Easter Sunday)"
Meanwhile, 4% chose neither one, and 2% elected not to answer.
The result, according to a member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), is not surprising.
Oscar V Cruz, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and director of the legal office of the Catholic Biushops Conference of the Philippines, said that the survey results are understandable given the culture of Filipinos that Christmas is much more celebrated than Easter Sunday.
"This is definitely very much a real perception of Filipino Christianity because Philippine culture has two very profound elements: the love of children and familiarity with suffereing. That is why we celebrate Christmas for three months, the longest in the world, and Good Friday with a lot of people and a lot of activities including crucifixion, but Easter Sunday churches are practically empty," said Mr. Cruz.
"To rise from the dead is difficult to understand, but as far as the Church is concerned it is the summit of all mystery. But just the same, we will not offend the culture of the people," said Mr. Cruz.
Christmas trumps Easter for majorities of 65% in the Visayas, 60% in Mindanao, 55% in Balance Luzon, and 52% in Metro Manila that cast their vote for the season of joy versus the season of penitence and renewal.
Preference for Christmas over Easter Sunday tends to be high in general, albeit higher among the lower classes -- 61% in class E and 57% in class D or the masa, compared to 51% in classes ABC.
The magic of Christmas tends to dull as the respondents get older, with majorities of 67% among 18-24, 64% among 25-34, 57% among 45-54, and 51% among 35-44 choosing Christmas over Easter Sunday; to the point where opinion is split among those 55 years and above where 50% chose Christmas and 46% chose Easter Sunday.
Christmas tends to be marginally more popular among women than men, with majorities of 58% among women and 57% among men choosing Christmas over Easter Sunday.
Religion has very little influence on the popularity for Christmas among Filipinos, although the survey had a decided bias for the followers of Christ.
The survey sample had 94% Christians (consisting of 82% Roman Catholic, 3% Iglesia ni Cristo, 1% Protestant, 0.4% Aglipayan, and 8% other Christian religions) and 5% non-Christians (consisting of 5% Islam and 0.4% other non-Christian religions).
Among Christian religions, 61% of Roman Catholics, 61% of Aglipayans, and 57% of other Christians chose Christmas as a more important day than Easter Sunday.
Opinion was mixed among Iglesia ni Cristo members where 37% chose Easter Sunday, 34% chose neither of the two, and 24% chose Christmas.
Not surprisingly, a majority of 60% of Muslims did not choose either Christmas or Easter; however a minority of 19% chose Christmas, whereas the remaining 5% chose Easter Sunday.
Christmas has its appeal for the other non-Christians, however, as a majority of 79% chose Christmas and the remaining 21% chose Easter Sunday.
These results are also not surprising to Mr. Cruz. "Any human person of any religion will also find joy in a child born, to rejoice is irrrespective of religion, but for Christians especially it is very important."
The March 2011 Social Weather Survey was conducted from March 4-7, 2011 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for area percentages).