Governor Arthur Yap on Thursday said that it would be unchristian to celebrate fiestas in a traditional way while the coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 continues to wreak havoc the world over killing tens of thousands of and sickening over two million others.
“If you have plans for the fiesta, cancel it now. I’m telling you, cancel it now…More than anything else, please remember that many have died. In the whole world, two million are infected, hundreds of thousands have died. It is against every Christian teaching that we celebrate in this time of hardship, suffering and death,” Yap said during a press briefing at the Capitol.
The month of May is the so-called fiesta season of Bohol in which at least one village or town celebrates its feast day on each day of the month.
A fiesta is primarily a Catholic celebration which honors the feast day of the patron saint of a barangay or municipality and is mostly celebrated through dinner or lunch gatherings among family, friends and even strangers.
According to Yap, extra money should be donated instead of spending it on lavish spreads.
“If you have extra money, put it in an envelope, give it to the Church. Or if you have extra food, give it to the poor,” he said.
To those who do not want to break tradition, they may still have their fiesta but should celebrate it only with household members in accordance with the government’s calls for the public to stay at home.
Yap said that he himself will be celebrating fiesta with just his mother as his immediate family including his wife Carol is in Manila.
“My entire family is not here. I am sacrificing. Why? Because I believe that we have a good chance in protecting Bohol,” Yap said.
The governor asked for the public to draw inspiration from the Passover, a Jewish festival marking the exodus of the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt.
“The Israelites even as they were gripped by terror and death, celebrated. In the Passover meal, the Israelites celebrated their departure from slavery. How did they celebrate? They celebrated in their homes. As one family, they prayed to Yahweh. They prayed for deliverance. They prayed for blessings. That is the same thing that Bohol should do this coming May,” he said.
The COVID-19 threat has been swiftly growing across the world. Although Bohol has zero active cases of the disease, it has taken extreme precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus.
The government has shut down non-essential businesses in the province while the Catholic Church has voluntarily suspended masses and other gatherings at churches to observe social distancing.
Both the Diocese of Tagbilaran and Ubay have instead resorted to holding online masses including during the Holy Week which is widely observed in predominantly Catholic Bohol.