Our country is also known as the “nation that greatly values religious traditions” — one of this is the Holy Week (“Mahal na Araw”). We, Filipinos, are known for our solemn celebration for this religious festivity. Because it is our way of renewing our relationship with God and it is commonly regarded as the season of “repentance” and “mending of immoral living”.
Holy Week is the last week of Lent, (which is a Catholic tradition which is the period of the liturgical year leading up to the Easter). This includes: “Palm Sunday”, “Maundy Thursday”, “Good Friday”, “Holy Saturday” and “Easter Sunday”.
It is a week-long period in which several practices are done in different places of the country in commemorating the passion and death as well as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The week from Holy Monday to Good Friday is an emotional packed religious ceremony that reminisced Jesus’ most cherished traditions. The Easter Sunday is the glorious celebration of ‘Salubong”.
Holy Week’s activities include:
- Public Flagellations — are the reenactment of the torture and death of Christ, wherein flagellants scourge themselves.
This is done by stripping themselves naked from their waist up then walking barefooted under a midday sun and then flagging themselves bloodily with ropes. They do this as a means of atonement of their sins. It is a sort of retribution of their offenses and human weaknesses for past favor such as after going through some crisis or danger in their lives. This is commonly practiced in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Rizal and practically all over the Tagalog region.
- Pabasa — is a family affair with the cooperation of relatives and neighbors. It is done 24-hours without sleep within the 7-days of singing and reading the “Pasyon”, (the chanting or recitation of the bible verses describing the passion of Christ).
- Senakulo — the reenactment of the passion of Christ.
- Siete Palabras — is the reading of the “7 Last Words” in all radio stations throughout the nation and is sponsored by religious groups
- Visita Iglesia — is the practice of Catholic believers to visit 7 different churches (if possible 14) representing the “Station of the Cross”
- Salubong — the pre-dawn masses which reenact the Risen Jesus Christ that is meeting up with His mother, (the Blessed Virgin Mary) at the church patio under a specially prepared arch. An angel then descends from the platform and lifts the mourning veil of the grieving Mother amidst the pealing of bells. The procession of the two images then ends up inside the church and masses are said.