Maytinis Festival an original Kawit tradition that takes place every Christmas Eve
Maytinis Festival an original Kawit tradition that takes place every Christmas Eve, a dramatic retelling of the Virgin Mary and Joseph’s search in Bethlehem for a place to stay called “Panunuluyan”. This re-enactment happens on the streets of Kawit with different floats depicting different biblical scenes from Adam and Eve up to Mary and Joseph. The “Panunuluyan” takes place in several houses and is done in singing until it reaches the 300 year old St. Mary Magdalene Church of Kawit where the Virgin Mary and Joseph are welcomed by angels in a giant “belen” (Nativity Scene) which covers the whole Retablo or Altar of the church. The songs performed by the angels acted by little girls are mostly in Spanish and Tagalog.
The Maytinis Festival, which has always been a huge crowd-drawer, includes the procession of floats carrying local folks portraying various biblical characters like Adam and Eve, the Seven Archangels, brothers Cain and Abel, La Purisima Concepcion, Abraham, Moises, King David, Samson and Delilah, Infanta Judith and Queen Esther. Organized by the town’s Confradia De Sagrada Familia St. Mary Magdalene Parish, the annual event relives the journey of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary in search for an inn for Jesus Christ’s birth, hence, the long procession around town. “The Incarnation of our Lord has reconnected us to God. During one of those dark and cold winter nights, when only people cared to lock themselves secure in the warmth of their homes, the warmth of God’s love permeated humanity,” Evangelista also said in his message during the event. The story of Maytinis, he noted, is the story of God’s love completely unfolded in human history. Evangelista further said that “while He remains God, His choice to freely embrace the joys, sorrows, and hopes of being truly human was never easy as he lived, ate, dined, cried, prayed and hoped with us, to show that in the midst of life’s vicissitude and limitations, there is joy and fulfillment in self-giving.” At present, the festival is divided into two parts. First is the celebration of the Word of God, followed by the procession of some 15 floats that represent the town’s villages. The festival also features different “payasos” (clowns), a representation of the various issues plaguing the country today, presented in comical manner – “a reflection of the townsfolk’s creativity,” Rayupa said.Adding to the festival mood are the various marching bands from Kawit and nearby towns, playing lively Christmas songs to perk up the crowd.
The event’s highlight was the “Panunuluyan” depicting Joseph and Mary’s journey seeking for a shelter that ends in the “sabsaban” or manger where Jesus Christ was born. The traditional life-sized Nativity scene serves as the centerpiece of the religious event. The second important part of the “Maytinis” is the Liturgical Mass of the Eucharist that welcomes all who want to accept the Savior through the bread of life. It represents the organizers’ intent to continue with the tradition with the guidance of the Parish Church, organized by the Confradia de Sagrada Familia, in close coordination with the local officials headed by the town mayor, village officials and the whole community of Kawiteños.
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