Tomorrow’s San Juan City Wattah Wattah fiesta will be a little more solemn and a little less fun.
That’s because Mayor Francis Zamora today told residents that the traditional dousing water which marks the event will be forbidden to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Based on our Executive Order No. 42, Series of 2020 which I signed, we are temporarily banning our traditional dousing of water because of the possibility that you might get infected [with COVID-19] and from crowding in the streets during the festivities,” Zamora said in an online statement in English and Filipino.
He added that this was done based on the rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which spearheads the Duterte government’s COVID-19 response.
“Instead, you will be blessed with holy water from a priest which is more important and meaningful. I advise everyone to remain in their homes or in their yards or behind the gates of their houses while the image of Saint John the Baptist passes by while you’re being blessed so that you do not violate the rules of the IATF,” he said.
San Juan is named after Saint John, a Jewish preacher believed to have baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Water is generally used to symbolize the saint, and San Juan residents douse each other to celebrate John’s feast, which is celebrated on June 24 each year.
This article, San Juan fiesta pushes through but without dousing of water, says Mayor Zamora, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!