Non-Catholics keep accusing and even ridiculing the Catholics for carrying holy statues and marching in a festival procession to the altar while singing and dancing. They also criticize the Catholics for celebrating fiestas for the Saints, eating, and drinking during this occasion. But are these practices going against the teaching of God? Let us check the Bible;
1. The Israelites went in procession, carrying holy statues (Ark of the Covenant) to the house of God
→[Psalm 118:27] The LORD is God, and he has given us light. March in a festival procession with branches to the horns of the altar.
→[Psalm 42:4] I will remember these things as I pour out my soul: how I used to walk with the crowd and lead it in a procession to God’s house. [I sang] songs of joy and thanksgiving while crowds of people celebrated a festival.
→[Psalm 55:14] We shared sweet fellowship together; we walked with the crowd into the house of God.
2. David danced before the Ark of the Covenant with all his might
→[2 Samuel 6:12-15] . . . So David went and had the ark of God brought up from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David with rejoicing. When those carrying the ark of the LORD had advanced six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened calf. And David, wearing a linen ephod, danced with all his might before the LORD, while he and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sounding of the ram’s horn.
COMMENT: What David and all the house of Israel were doing is comparable to Sinulog, where people are carrying holy statues with dancing, shouting, and blowing wind instruments.
3. God’s people held feasts, and they ate and drank
→[Genesis 21:8] “Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning, Abraham held a great feast.”
→[Genesis 26:30] So Isaac prepared a feast for them, and they ate and drank.
→[Esther 9:19] So to this day, rural Jews living in remote villages celebrate an annual festival and holiday on the appointed day in late winter, when they rejoice and send gifts of food to each other.
→[2 Kings 6:23] So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
→[2 Chronicles 30:13] A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month.
→[2 Chronicles 30:21] So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments.
→[John 5:1] “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.”
→[Colossians 2:16-17] “Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink, or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths.”
4. God urges his people to celebrate feasts, to enjoy eating and drinking
→[Exodus 12:14] “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”
→[Exodus 23:14] “You will have three special festivals each year. You must come to my special place to worship me during these festivals.
→[Numbers 6:20] The priest shall then wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. This is a holy portion for the priest, in addition to the breast of the wave offering and the thigh that was presented. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine
→[Deuteronomy 16:14] “You must rejoice at your feast, you, your son and your daughter, your serving men and women, the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow living in your community.”
→[Esther 9:22] “he told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts to each other and to the poor. this would commemorate a time when the jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.”
→[Ecclesiastes 2:24] Nothing is better for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work. I have also seen that this is from the hand of God.
→[Ecclesiastes 8:15] So I commended the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be merry. For this joy will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.
→[Ecclesiastes 9:7] Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepted thy works.
→[Amos 9:14-15] I will restore My people Israel from captivity; they will rebuild and inhabit the ruined cities. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will firmly plant them in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land that I have given them,” says the LORD your God.
→[Nahum 2:1] “To Judah See on the mountains the feet of the herald! ‘Peace!’ he proclaims. Judah, celebrate your feasts, carry out your vows, for Belial will never pass through you again; he has been utterly destroyed”
→[John 2:7-10] Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. “Now draw some out,” He said, “and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not know where it was from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone serves the fine wine first, and then the cheap wine after the guests are drunk. But you have saved the fine wine until now!”
5. God will hold a feast for all Saints or holy people in His kingdom
→[Isaiah 25:6] In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
→[Jeremiah 31:12] They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD–the grain, new wine, and oil, and the young of the flocks and herds. Their life will be like a well-watered garden, and never again will they languish
→[Matthew 8:11] And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.
→[Matthew 26:29] I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
→[Luke 13:29] They will come from east and west, from north and south, to share the banquet in the kingdom of God.
→[Luke 14:15] When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
→[Luke 22:28-30] “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
→[Hebrews 12:22] Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering,
CONCLUSION: Celebrating fiesta for the saints, eating and drinking wine, and procession of holy statues are biblical. What is forbidden is that when you eat and drink wine too much.
[Deuteronomy 21:20] The parents must say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’
[Proverbs 23:20] Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,
[1 Corinthians 5:11] But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
[1 Corinthians 6:10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.