Several places in the Philippines have announced that the traditional celebration of the feast of St. John the Baptist will be suspended this year due to the pandemic.
It is the second year in a row that the festivities during the feast of St. John the Baptist has been suspended due to the global health crisis.
The country’s annual celebration of the feast of St. John the Baptist every 24th of June is known for its being a “wet and wild” street party in many parts of the country.
The annual feast supposedly marks the baptism of Jesus by his cousin John in preparation for the Lord’s ministry.
Last year, those who attempted to take a swim at the beach, in nearby rivers, or at local springs, were driven home by authorities.
In the city of Bacolod this year, the mayor has announced that the traditional observance of the feast will be suspended and violators will be charged.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued an executive order prohibiting the celebration as the city continues to experience a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The mayor said the festivities may cause an unwanted spread of the virus.
Any traditional practice of water splashing and any similar acts committed in public or at any place such as public streets, roads, sidewalks, workplace, churches, or locations is prohibited.
On the resort island of Boracay, also in the central Philippines, only tourists will be temporarily allowed to swim on the beach.
Authorities said residents will be temporarily barred from swimming to prevent possible transmission brought by local gatherings.
Authorities said locals can still stay on the shoreline, but gatherings will be strictly prohibited.
“We are informing the public that the local government unit of Malay is prohibiting the celebration of San Juan in the beaches and rivers within the municipality of Malay,” read a government advisory.
“This is because we have been celebrating (the feast) of San Juan traditionally through gathering by the beach or rivers,” the the LGU’s June 20 advisory read.
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