Feast

For those unaccustomed to Christian traditions, the Philippines being a predominantly Christian country celebrate feasts of saints and other religious holidays. Some tour agencies often claim that everyday there is at least one feast in any part of the archipelago. 🙂

Today is the feast of St. John the Baptist.

Cities, municipalities and other smaller units of local government that made St. John their patron saint proclaimed today as a holiday.

Being the baptizer in the old days, people try to emulate his role by splashing water to anyone and everyone. It is part of the tradition that in some ways created not only friendly celebration but hostility as well.

I remember one time when I was in high school, I rode a passenger jeepney that passed by the town of San Juan (St. John). All of us inside the vehicle was aware of the traditional splashing by residents who lined up the streets. The plastic cover in the windows was already drawn down to protect us from unruly celebrants who would not be stopped to fulfill their wishes.

Suddenly, our vehicle was caught on traffic. The inevitable happened.

Out of the blue, three teenagers with small pails appeared on the back door. Without warning, one by one, they splashed us with the contents of their buckets. The unclear water that wet us smelled disgustingly bad. Our conclusion was similar: it was drainage water from the canal by the roadside.

Fuming mad, we stepped out of the vehicle to run after the lads. What met us were more people with containers of water, thankfully cleaner. We experienced the full treatment of the traditional splashing.

From then on, I made it a point to stay clear of places where St. John is the patron saint. I do not want to have a second shower without my blessing. 🙂

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