Mask still a must even for Joseph, Mary, angels
CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Philippines —The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop “the true Christmas” from being depicted in the annual procession of Nativity-themed “carrozas” that rolled through the major streets of this provincial capital on Friday night.
Since 2015, the floats have been parading “living statues” of various dioramas about the story of Jesus Christ, from the time of his birth to his youth.
But because of the pandemic, Mother Mary and St. Joseph—or the locals who played them—had to wear medical masks while garbed in Filipinized versions of their Biblical attire. So did John the Baptist and the angels.
Missing the Magi
In previous years, up to 30 floats took part in the event that was initiated by Fr. Barry Mercado of Sagrada Familia Parish church at Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte City.
But because of quarantine restrictions, only eight carrozas were prepared this year. Among those dropped from the lineup was that of the Three Kings.
Mercado said the church still pushed through with the procession to lift the community’s spirits amid the global health crisis.
“We must all work together to bring inspiration and hope to everyone. We need to generate exuberance as we welcome a new year,” the parish priest said.
The procession, which coincided with the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree at City Hall, saw the carrozas making their way to the Basilica Minore before returning to the capitol grounds.
The actors on the floats observed proper physical distancing—staying at least 1-meter apart—as they posed for the Gospel scenes, starting with an act titled “The Word of God Made Flesh.”
Instead of just ending in the “Nativity” tableau, the narrative continued to include the infant Jesus’ “Presentation at the Temple” and, fast forward, to the time of his boyhood when he was “Lost and Found in The Temple.” The last carroza, however, was for a character nowhere to be found in the Bible but nevertheless a Christmas fixture: Santa Claus. And of course, Santa also had to wear a mask.
Mindful of the community quarantine restrictions, Mercado said no actors age below 15 or above 65 participated in the event.
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