X
UCA News
myron-j-pereira
shay-cullen
mary-aileen-d-bacalso
william-j-grimm
michael-kelly
benedict-rogers

Philippines

Philippines lifts ban on carol singing

Christmas tradition may go ahead as long as certain Covid-19 health protocols are observed

Philippines lifts ban on carol singing

Catholic faithful wearing face masks and shields and observing physical distancing attend the first of nine dawn Masses signalling the official start of Christmas at a church in Manila on Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Christians in the Philippines will be allowed to go door to door to sing carols this Christmas as long as they observe certain Covid-19 health protocols.

The Department of Health on Nov. 10 lifted a ban on the tradition imposed last year because of the pandemic.

It means people may once again visit relatives and friends to sing carols dressed in yuletide costumes.

“Singers must remember that caroling must only take place outdoors while wearing face masks or face shields,” health undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said.

“The public needs to understand that when we sing, respiratory particles are emitted. This means that the infection risk is high.” 

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Manila on Nov. 4 to allow small gatherings provided people wear masks and face shields.

Risks may be mitigated if singing is conducted outdoors in small groups at an appropriate distance from observers, and with the vulnerable and elderly not included

Church activities were also permitted provided not more than 50 percent of the seating capacity of a venue was occupied.

Vergeire said the government had no “specific” guidelines as to how caroling should be conducted and had left that to local authorities and communities.

“Local governments are encouraged to develop specific guidelines based on their respective local settings,” she added.

She also warned against welcoming carol singers into houses.

Thank you. You are now signed up to Daily newsletter

“Risks may be mitigated if singing is conducted outdoors in small groups at an appropriate distance from observers, and with the vulnerable and elderly not included,” Vergeire said.

The move to restore the Christmas tradition has been welcomed by Catholics.

Father Jun Castro of Legaspi Diocese in southern Luzon said singing carols is an important tradition in the Philippines.

“I am sure many will be excited to once again sing their favorite Christmas carols. Caroling is also an opportunity to share with the needy,” Father Castro told UCA News.

“Caroling will bring back the joy of Christmas, but let not put our defenses down. The virus is still present. Let us be careful.”

Some people, however, have voiced concern, saying it may be safer to sing carols online instead.

“Instead of risking carolers to Covid exposure, maybe it’s better to use the internet. After all, it is the thought that counts,” Manila parishioner Martin Castro said.

Also Read

 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia