“Ber’ months “

EVERYONE waits for the “ber” months year after year.

Filipinos look forward to cooler months and the prospect of Christmas bonuses. But things are shifting away from the perennial happy expectations to the worrisome and the unforeseen.

The normally cooler months are getting hot because of climate change while family heads are getting even hotter because Christmas bonus envelops will more likely be thinner if not completely disappearing in the context of an economy badly hit by the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, businesses in malls and other sales outfits took advantage of the “ber” months for bigger sales and marginal profit by employing more contractual workers that rendered labor as seasonal beneficiary of the economy.

This short-lived happiness of permanently temporary employees ended without fail after the “ber” months.

But now with the big losses in sales of malls because of the pandemic, this small window for job creation might not even open that much like before.

Long ago, the world shifted from the Roman calendar to the Gregorian calendar that added the months of January and February but made the names of the “ber” months inconsistent with their resulting positions.

September from the Latin word “septa”, meaning seven, was pushed to the ninth position, October from “octo”, meaning eight, fell to tenth, November from “novem”, meaning nine, went to eleventh and finally December from “decem”, meaning ten, ended twelfth.

The “ber” months of the Gregorian calendar, despite their incongruous names, retained their basic essence of solar and planetary time configurations.

The “ber” months have long retained their names but their essence now in the minds of the toiling Filipinos has been different, a fragile range of happy hope to hopefully happy concessions at best.

The two best known heroes of the Filipinos are remembered annually during the “ber” months, the bolo-wielding Gat Andres Bonifacio on November 30 for his birth and the pen-driven Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30 for his martyrdom.

In between is the calming birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ, on December 25. This is how one realizes that despite the challenges that Filipinos might go through every year, God made sure that they will always be reminded to temper discontent and upheaval with firm determination to pursue peace and be guided by reason and love for their “kapwa” God creation.

I have the gut feeling that the “ber” months this year would still bring peace to the hearts of Filipinos and instill contentment in their minds once some acceptable resolution of the issues that threaten to diminish the moral ascendancy of leaders in dealing with the pressing concerns of the country is provided.

Those who toil might then possibly become more forgiving and still find hope for the better by the end of the “ber” months whether the new political alliances of convenience would be as holy as Christmas day or as unholy as the “massacre of the innocents” ordered by a threatened Herod a few days after.

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