Maytinis Festival is one of the well-known festivals in Cavite that is traditionally celebrated every Christmas Eve. It highlights a traditional Christmas church tradition called “Panunuluyan” which features a dramatic retelling of the Virgin Mary and Joseph’s search in Bethlehem for a place to stay. While Panunuluyan is often performed in many Catholic churches, Maytinis Festival in Kawitis done in a very distinctive way.
One of the major highlights of the Festival is the grand float parade. Unlike traditional floats, these are not just ornate vehicles. Each float features locals portraying various characters from different Biblical events from both Old and New Testaments. These include famous events like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Visitation, the Annunciation, to name a few. This, of course, includes the Panunuluyan scene.
After its two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, Maytinis Festival was celebrated last year but only with 6 floats. (Check: Maytinis Festival 2022) This year, the number of the participating floats were doubled. Maytinis Festival is yearly organized by the Cofradia De Sagrada Familia. Every year, the organization will choose an Ama and Ina (Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayora) to act as principal sponsors of the festival. Each float will be prepared and represented by different barangays in Kawit, Cavite.
History-wise, little is known where and when exactly the festival started but it has been centuries-old tradition by the Kawiteños which has been around even before the first Philippine Government was established. Even Emilio Aguinaldo (the first president) himself was not certain of its origin but record states that he grew up celebrating this century-old Kawiteño tradition. The term Maytinis came from a Spanish word “Maitines” or Matins (Latin) which is a traditional Catholic liturgy traditionally sung during dawn or darkness of early morning.
Instead of putting processional images on top of beautifully and intricately decorated floats, real people will re-enact each Biblical scene including the panunuluyan, transforming this simple ritual into a spectacle. The floats will grace the busy streets of Kawit (and Noveleta) until they have reached the Saint Mary Magdalene Parish. They will also be accompanied by various bands.
As the parade goes, the Panunuluyan float will stop by different houses where Mary and Joseph will interact with “maybahay” or “house owner” to beg for a place to stay. This dramatization is also accompanied by an old piece of music based on Estaban Basa’s Hymn uniquely arranged by the Magdalo Band (the oldest marching band in Kawit). The Panunuluyan will then conclude in Kawit Church where the nativity scene will take place.
Here are the participating floats in the recently concluded Maytinis Festival, as well as the winners of the Best Float competition.
Pitong Arkanghel (7 Archangels) by Dr. Rommel Toledo
Si Eba at Adan (Adam and Eve) by Barangay Magdalo – Potol
La Purisima Concepcion by Barangay Tabon 2
Si Cain at Abel ( Cain and Abel ) by Atty. Ramon Esguerra
Si Noeh at ang Baha (Noah and the Flood) by Barangay Toclong
Moises by Barangay Tramo Bantayan
Haring David (King David) by Barangay Poblacion
Samson at Delilah (Samson and Delilah) by Barangay Marulas
Infanta Judith by Barangay Panamitan
Reyna Ester (Queen Esther) by Barangay Gahak
Ang Pangako ng Diyos kay Zacarias (God’s Promise to Zacharias) by Barangay Batong-Dalig
Pagbati (The Annunciation) by Barangay Wakas
Pagdalaw (Visitation) by Brgy Sta. Isabel
Panunuluyan by Cofradia de Sagrada Familia
The parade concludes with the “Pagbabalita ng Angel” (The Annunciation to the Shepherds) by Barangay Kaingen.
Here are the following winners from the recently concluded Gabi ng Parangal of Maytinis 2023