“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week

Volunteering Crucifixion Philippines, photo courtesy Wikipedia

It's Holy week in the Philippines this week. It is a significant religious festival in the week before Easter (the remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ), and the most important religious festivity after Christmas, being the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

It is also called Semana Santa (in Spanish) or Mahal na Araw (in Filipino). For many more details see Wikipedia.

Remember that the Philippines is a nation with 90% Catholics out of almost 100 million people, the biggest Catholic community in Asia.

Many private businesses, banks and government will close for a couple of days, some even the whole week, including the next Monday.

The following holy days are celebrated:

  • Palm Sunday
  • Holy Wednesday
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Holy Saturday
  • Easter Sunday

Festivities, ceremonies, processions and local practices are dating back to the Spanish period and many superstitious believes seem to be a heritage from the pre-Hispanic period.

With Palm Sunday many Filipino go to church and bring a palm branch or leave or similar to be blessed by the priest and later attached to the house to get rid of the bad spirits.

On Holy Wednesday there are evening processions in some place in Luzon.

Maundy Thursday, also sometimes called Black Thursday, is the day that precedes the three days that Jesus was crucified and were in the tomb, also called the Triduum. This day (Today!!) many people go to church (even some go to 7 churches), although I have been to none yet. It is also the day of the remembrance of Jesus' last supper and no meat will be served the next three days.

Good Friday is of course the day that Jesus was crucified. In many places in the Philippines are processions dedicated to this event and expressing it in many ways, the most famous in the province of Pampanga, where some people are being crucified and literally nailed to the cross. Next year I might be there to watch this ceremony.

Holy Saturday or sometimes called Black Saturday is the day of traditional silence after the death of Jesus Christ and preparations for Easter will start.

Procession with Virgin Mary

Easter Sunday is the day of many processions again, showing Virgin Mary in black as to express the grieving for her son, but by the end of the day or the even the end of the procession the black cloths are removed and the grieving is over.


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