By Jed Nykolle Harme

Maytinis Festival has always been a huge crowd-drawer that locals and tourists look forward to every Christmas eve.

It is a tradition to Kawitenos already that before they celebrate Christmas, they must watch this festival first. This urged the organizers to declare that the show must go on — virtually and safely — as they can showcase the parade and cater more audiences in a new normal way. 

Maytinis festival is a Catholic Church tradition in Kawit that annually takes pride in its highly hispanized culture. It is a unique representation of ancient biblical history of mankind’s salvation through the procession of dazzling floats carrying local folks portraying various biblical characters.

Photo: Screenshot from Maytinis Facebook page

Although a devastating blow this year occurred when mass gatherings were prohibited because of Covid-19, this did not deter organizers from holding the event. 

This year, the floats and the characters were made into a diorama pre-recorded act in each Barangay for the virtual procession online and can be watched via livestream in various Social Media accounts.

This festival also highlights the dramatic retelling of St. Joseph’s and Virgin Mary’ search for an inn in Bethlehem for a place to stay. They found not a room, but a manger where Christ was eventually born. 

It also features the story of God’s promise to Zacarias; the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth; and the annunciation by angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. 

A life-size Belen is also an attraction in the Altar of St. Mary Magdalene Church as well as Christmas lights outside and inside the church illuminated back the hope not only in the town of Kawit, but also in the heart of Kawitenos amid this crisis. 

This year’s Maytinis fest caters more participants as it becomes more accessible and accommodated in the cyber setting. Viewers from all over the Philippines even throughout the world can now participate as long as they have a stable internet connection.

This well-loved tradition culminates the true essence of Christmas in a lively culture in Kawit that even the pandemic can’t hinder.