Panunuluyan

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

One of the common celebration is to watch a play called Panunuluyan – a tradition observed in some provinces in the Philippines. The Panunuluyan dramatizes the search for lodging of St Joseph and the very pregnant Virgin Mary. Originally, the images of the two, atop decorated carrozas, are processioned on Christmas eve and taken from house to house, in re-enactment of that event in Bethlehem. The images are preceded by altar boys bearing ciriales (cross and candles on poles) and devotees. Eventually, real people, instead of santos, were cast to assume the roles of Jose and Maria, almost always respectable citizens of the town. The dramatis personae expanded to include the 3 Magis, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar and even a Narrator and a Koro, a Chorus of singers who sang and delivered verses for the Holy Couple.

This tradition may have been adopted from Mexican Posadas and is usually re-enacted after the last Mass before Christmas eve.

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