John the Baptist

In the Philippines, the Roman Catholics celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist on the 24th of June each year.

Being the Baptist, Filipinos would flock to the beach, rivers, lakes, ponds or pool to swim and celebrate John’s birthday.

Traditionally, children and adults would line the street (or sometimes hiding as in ambush) and douse with water the unsuspecting passers-by who maybe walking or riding on a vehicle.

Later, this practice diminished after some incidents led to rage and perpetrators getting shot at and killed by angry wet victims.

Like any other feasts, most revelers would end up intoxicated. It is also the day when incidents of drowning is high.

How I wish Filipinos who are keen in honoring John the Baptist would take time to read about him.

In Luke 1:13-17, we read the angel of the Lord’s prophecy about John the Baptist (emphasis mine).

  • 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
  • 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,
  • 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
  • 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
  • 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Based from the Scriptures, it is plain and clear how we must give honour to John the Baptist.

As John the Baptist is never to take wine or other fermented drink, the best way to celebrate his birthday is to abstain from wine or other fermented drink.

Celebrating with all sobriety, I believe we would make John the Baptist happier if we take time to understand why we call him “the Baptist” and why should we follow Jesus Christ’s example of submitting to baptism when he was grown up and wasn’t a baby.

PHOTO CREDIT: Vintage Wine Case from