Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baptism in Paoay during the Feast of the Epiphany

Between today and 2060, the Feast of the Epiphany (or, of the Three Kings), January 6 will again be a Sunday in 2019, 2030, 2036, 2041, 2047, and 2058.  We can go up till the end of the century using the periodic count of 6, 5, 6, 11, which means that there will be spans when that Sunday comes at the 11th year from the last; for example, 2019 and 2030.

Thus, only during those years when the 6th falls on a Sunday that, counting from 25 December, the twelfth night of Christmas occurs on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany.  When the Church moved the feast to the first Sunday that follows January 1, the days of Christmas have been reduced.

Our generation grew up with twelve days of Christmas, and we knew the holiday was over when the Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar of barrio Alusiis of our hometown led the barrio fiesta parade around the town astride native horses.

January 6 on a Sunday, just like any other Sunday in the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish times, was baptismal day.

Gaspar, Balthazar & Melchor baptized on 06 January, 1799 at the Paoay Church.

The baptismal records of Paoay, Ilocos Norte that date back to 1787 reveal a very interesting practice of the Augustinian cura parroco during the Hispanic years. We surmise that it was he, not the parents, who gave the names of the children during their baptismal day. On each particular christening day, boys would have the same name; likewise, the girls, whether they were a day or less than a week old.  Boys baptized on Christmas Day or New Year would be named Manuel, and the girls Manuela.   

For niños on whose heads the cura would apply the holy oil on January 6, he christened them Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar; and for the niñas, the feminine derivative of the magi names.  Shown above is representative baptismal page from the records of Paoay, which we photographed from microfilm images at the Family History Center of the Mormons on Temple Drive, Quezon City. 

We scoured these records because Ilocanos from this town, our ancestors, moved to Zambales around 1838 and became the core of founders of the town of San Narciso.


Bautismos, Paoay, Ilocos Norte.  Microfilm. Family History Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Temple Drive, Quezon City.


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