Posted 3 years ago -
Panunuluyan: the search for a shelter
Of the many traditions observed in the country during the Yuletide season, one of the oldest and most solemn is the Panunuluyan.
The panunuluyan (sometimes also called panuluyan) is a dramatization of the search for lodgings by Mary and Joseph right before the birth of Jesus. Although it is not observed as often in the present as its was in the past, the practice remains an important feature of the Filipino celebration of Christmastime.
Panunuluyan is conducted via re-enactments, seasonal hymns, prayers, fellowships and communal reflections on the holy family’s journey.
Traditionally, a man and a woman would dress as Mary and Joseph and would travel from house to house while being accompanied by other singers on the eve of Christmas. They would then sing Mary and Joseph’s pleas for lodging. The homeowners would then, as the story tells it, would tell the two of them that there aren’t any more rooms left and would turn them away.
This would go on until near midnight, upon which, the last Simbang Gabi would then take place.
While the practice is observed all throughout the country, it is known by a different name in Visayas, where it is called Daygon. The tradition is similar to Mexican Christmas ritual called Posadas. In their version, the people singing for the roles of Mary and Joseph would sing to the housekeeper, who would then respond in song. The song would switch back and forth until eventually, the singers playing and Mary and Joseph would be let in and a party is held indoors.