Monday, April 15, 2019

Holy Week Stories

Yesterday marked the official start of the Holy Week for all Christians. I may not be a practicing Catholic (I’d like to think that I’m more spiritual than religious) but I do have a great amount of respect for this season and what it means. 

Image by cgrape from Pixabay

Living in the province always means that the religious traditions for Holy Week are alive and well and still practiced with much fervor. The Catholic Church organizes Stations of the Cross that assigns specific homes/locations that the faithful will visit in the days leading up to Holy Week. Processions are conducted with a long line of statues depicting events during the passion of Christ along with those of various saints, including the Virgin Mary. 

I remember when I was a young girl and used to vacation here with my family during the Holy Week, I used to see people flagellating themselves while either walking on foot or on their knees during this week. Some would even be carrying a cross. It always made me curious about who these people were and what could their sins possibly be for them to believe that they needed to make such a sacrifice during the Lenten Season. 

One of the beautiful parts of Holy Week for me is the “Salubong.” This is when there is a late evening/early morning procession where the Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ travel the town in the hope of finding each other. This culminates in them meeting where a choir of angels (little girls chosen to be part of this event) sing as their lead angel takes off the black veil covering the Virgin Mary’s head.

The salubong is followed by what is known as the Bati, where a selected group of young women dance to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This part is something that doesn’t seem much of a religious activity as it is a traditional one, but the season isn’t complete without it around these parts.

I know that for most this is one of those long holidays that people prefer to take advantage of for vacations out of town but for my family, it’s more of a time to stay at home and reflect on the meaning of the season. I remember as a child that my maternal grandmother would lead us in praying the rosary daily at 6 PM. She used to get mad at us when we would laugh while we prayed because she felt that it was a time for us to think of what the week meant and not a time to laugh and play around. 

A (sort of) new tradition that my family does during Holy Week is to watch a movie that is connected to the Christian faith. I’ve taken to selecting a movie for the family to watch during the holiday and for the past few years we’ve seen Noah, The Ten Commandments. Jesus Christ Superstar, The Passion of the Christ, Son of God and the TV musical, Passion. I have no idea what movie to watch this year, but I need to find one fast. 

What about you? What are your plans for the Holy Week?
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