Sandigang Kaalaman: ANG PANUNULUYAN (12.24.22)

The panunulúyan (maytinis in Imus, Cavite; daigon in Visayas; call in Cavite and Batangas; pastores in Cebu, Leyte, Bohol, Negros and Panay) is a creative dramatization of the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem to enroll, and of their search for accommodation. It is held every afternoon on December 24th in preparation for the Midnight Mass on Christmas Day. This custom is based on Luke 2:1-14, the Good News in this celebration.

The tradition has its roots in the novena for Christmas initiated by San Ignacio de Loyola in the 16th century. Made a presentation of San Juan dela Cruz. Missionaries spread this custom because they saw how it could help spread the Word of God and teach catechism. It reached as far as Mexico and was called las posadas. It arrived in the Philippines because of the galleon trade.

Las posadas are held every night from December 16th to December 24th. The procession will be led by a boy dressed as an angel with those lighting the image of Joseph and Mary riding a donkey. Stopping at selected houses, reading the Word of God and singing a Christmas carol. It ends with the celebration of Holy Mass and the children opening piñatas, star-shaped packages containing candy, toys or money.

There are two ways of conducting the settlement. In the first method, the barangay or parish will choose those who will act as Jose and Maria. Along with some singers, they will stop at select houses. Jose and Maria will talk to keep them going by singing verses. The owner of the house or the accompanying singers will reply to inform that they will not be accepted because there is no more space for them. It will end in the manger in front or in the sanctuary of the Church where Jesus will be born. In the second way, the image of Jose and Mary in the karatela or carozza is included in the house-to-house movement. The group of male singers will sing Joseph's parts. Meanwhile, the group of female singers will sing Maria's parts.

Panunulúyan can be a collective action of a barangay or parish led by youth and other members of parish organizations. The proceeds can be used to help our brothers and sisters in need, especially those who don't have a decent place to stay.

Above all, this practice is an effective awakening to the true spirit of the birth of our Redeemer. In His incarnation, Jesus reaches out to us and travels to accompany us on this journey of life. However, there are so many times that we don't let him continue in our lives because our hearts and eyes are closed, especially to our needy brothers and sisters. May this practice enrich faith, our culture and our response to God.

Catechism from Rev. Fr. Samuel A. Estrope II

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