Internationally celebrated, the Holy Week religious celebration is marked by definitive customs and traditions in its observances in each country, such as numerous processions, Passion plays, and the Way of the Cross. Religious traditions make it the most spectacular week.
As we are mostly Christians from the Vatican to the Philippines, our Easter traditional celebration begins with the Holy Week, namely with Palm Sunday. To commemorate Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, many Christian churches’ palm leaves are decorated and carried to get them blessed. After the Palm Sunday liturgy, they bring them home and either attach the leaves to the back of the main door or put them in the corner—it’s supposed to protect the household from any danger, referring to some kind of superstition.
Reminiscing about fun childhood memories of “Mahal Na Araw, ” the following holy scenarios are hard to erase from my mind:
(1) Senakulo – a play about Jesus’ life and passion that traditionally involves costumed actors and drama. It’s performed either on a stage or in the street, often on several nights during the Holy Week. Street performances feature a statue of Christ bearing a cross which is paraded throughout the city. It’s practiced in a number of communities, particularly in some provinces. In some areas, these plays involve real bloody reenactment scenes. Often male devotees whip themselves to blood. Some are even tied and nailed to the cross to live through the sufferings of Jesus. However, such practices are actually discouraged by the Church.
(2) Pabása – presenting Jesus’ Passion by singing and reciting rather than actually reenacting the scenes.
(3) Holy Week processions – They may occur on various days of the week featuring the statues of Jesus, Virgin Mary, 12 Apostles, and many other saints.
(4) Floats – Beautifully adorned dioramas depict the scenes from Jesus’ Passion and death.
(5) Holy Thursday traditions – commemorating the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Another tradition of the day is the Visita Iglesia (literally visit of the churches), it is essential to visit seven churches.
(6) Stations of the Cross on Good Friday – Good Friday is also marked with the dawn processions that recall the Stations of the Cross. Often the stations are set up in the town so that believers can walk the Way of the Cross. At 3 p.m. churches call for Good Friday Service of Commemoration of the Passion.
(7) Black Saturday traditions: Easter Vigil. Midnight Mass often involves outdoor fire and the blessing of the Paschal candle.
(8) Easter Sunday – The last day of festivities, locally called Pasko ng Pagkabuhay in Filipino. This marks the start of the joyful celebration. Masses on Easter Day are overcrowded.
(9) Easter egg hunts – hold right near churches, and sometimes also in the shopping malls. The kids have options to participate and some people also hold egg hunts at their homes together with traditional luncheon or dinner.
Happy Easter to our readers and advertisers!. Anonymous Editorialist