Matthew 2:11 quotes the John the Baptist as saying: “I indeed baptize you with water …. for repentance!”, but sometimes these words are not taken seriously.

The feast of San Juan in the Philippines is a sort free-for-all water fighting with much of buckets full of water (even beer) thrown not only on people passing on foot, but also on those raiding motorcycles and driving cars with the windows down. Of course it happens especially in places called San Juan (in Metro Manila, anyone who goes to the town of San Juan, on the morning of June 24 cannot stay dry.) or parishes where the patron saint is the Baptist. The usual shouting, before and after the “splash!”, is “San Juan! San Juan! Basaan! Buhusan!”

This year the Feast is on Sunday and it must be received with a sigh of relief from the ordinary people. When the Feast is celebrated on weekly days passengers of jeepneys are getting mad when they are drenched, from the pails of wild kids in the streets, while going to school and work. But, anyway, throwing water it remains hilarious.  So this year is holiday and nobody goes to school or work, like saying that much more will be the people throwing water …. then  innocent and unarmed passer-by getting drench. With few and no clear targets, this sunday,  filipinos will throw water at each other, just for fun. Anyway it is less violent and dirty of certain feasts where people are throwing oranges, eggs and tomatoes.

Filipinos honor the saint who had a very important role in the History of Salvation  (and millions were baptized with his name) and, who knows, may be water is the right element that can show us that we must resolve hatred and conflicts with others, repent our past faults, and cultivate peace and joy. However better would be, if we want to repent, instead of pulling water at each other, to wash each other feet.

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