Holy Week or the Lenten Season as we call it, is the best time to quantify, to think deeply, to meditate, to reflect, to recollect and to do some mental concentration in our lives.
During my younger years, we were taught to observe silence during the Lenten Season. We were required to attend more children catechism lessons in the Parish Church, read and sing the “Pasyon” (Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ) in the “Pabasa” of our neighbor. “Pabasa” is an old Holy Week practice here in the Philippines that has remained well preserved particularly in the provinces where it is held continuously day and night sometimes for as long as three straight days. In recent years, the melodies of pop songs are sometimes used to make the chanting of the Biblical passages sound more interesting and lively. As kids we enjoy reading it, for we have to sing the biblical lines in the book. Gathered together are close relatives and friends, day and night until it ends on the third day.
Simple foods, mostly fish and vegetables are served during our meals. We refrain from eating meat for abstinence or fasting.
We were never allowed to be noisy nor play outdoor games especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. So, my cousins, my siblings and I were just contented in playing “Sungka” (Sungka is a Philippine indoor game)
Black Saturday as said in the old belief is the best time to cut our hairs and trim our finger nails.
We get up early on Easter Sunday, to join the Salubong. Salubong is an Easter Sunday pre-dawn ritual that re-enacts the Risen Christ's meeting with His mother. It is performed in the churchyard under a specially prepared arch where the veiled image of the Virgin Mary has been placed. A child dressed as an angel is lowered by ropes from a high platform to lift the mourning veil of the grieving Mother. The church bells are rung, and there is a procession of the images of Christ and his mother that ends up inside the church. The participants in the procession are segregated by gender. The men and boys follow the image of Jesus Christ, while women and girls follow the image of Mary. The procession ends with the two groups meeting in the church, where Mass is said.
As the years go by, people tend to forget the real meaning of this season. Most go to beaches, go out of town or out of the country, not to commemorate but to enjoy the long weekend vacation. Sad to say, that we are forgetting to feed our spiritual needs most of the time.
This Lenten Season, me and my husband have plans for our family, we will do the Station of the Cross, Visita Iglesia, and try to read Bible passages. We will spend a day of family recollection to do mental concentration, to think deeply in relation to moral truth and to pray not only for our sake but for the whole mankind.
My children are very cooperative especially when I told them that we will also be on a little fasting, meaning no pork or beef meals for the meantime.
Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, we were able to attend mass and bought "Palaspas" (decorated palm leaves) then had it blessed. This Palaspas according to the old religious beliefs can drive away evil spirits, it is best hanged outside the windows.
Our family may never be so very religious, but we never forget to give thanks for all the blessing we daily receive and pray all together at night before we go to bed.
By the way, Elders and sick persons can still do their Visita Iglesia and Station of the Cross online.
May God bless Us all. Have a Blessed Lenten Season everyone J