Thursday, April 21, 2011

Observing Holy Week

 The Philippines, having most of its population as Catholics, religiously observe Lent season. Although some companies ask  their workers to stay until at least Thursday noon, most of the Filipinos, do not work from Thursday until the Eastern Sunday. Many who are from the cities go to their hometown to observe Lent. 

In different parts of the country, there are many Filipinos who are actively participating the acts of the last days of Jesus. There are procession with men carrying cross and whipping their backs till blood ooze from their skin. There are also some willing men who penitent by crucifying themselves after the cross procession. Some of them do these yearly to follow the tradition. 

In my place, we do not have such intense re-enactment of the last days of Jesus. My family usually goes to the church at noon of Friday and hear the bible being read and sang. Sometimes, one of my neighbors would sponsor a "pasyon", it's a two-day reading and chanting the bible without pause. During this time, volunteers would help the sponsor family to prepare food for "chanters" who will be holding vigil. My family once sponsored a "pasyon". At 3 in the afternoon, there will be a procession of patrons from different parts of the town. The town plaza will be full of people from different villages to witness the procession of different patrons and saints, and of course, of  Jesus and Mary. After the procession ends, the church will be closed until the first mass on Eastern Sunday. We wake up as early as 4 am to attend the first mass in Eastern Sunday. On Thursday until Saturday, we do not eat meat, but on Sunday, the meal should be festive in celebration of the Lord's resurrection.

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