The Philippines Observe Lenten Season
Lent is a religious observance that starts from Ash Wednesday and ends approximately 6 weeks before the Easter Sunday. The last week is called the Holy Week that starts from Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. This year, the Lenten season is from 6-March to 18-April and the holy week, 14 to 21 of April.
Lent is the season where believers prepare for Easter through prayer, doing penance and repentance. The Holy week follows the story from the New Testament about the crucifixion of Jesus which is commemorated on Good Friday followed by a joyful celebration of his resurrection celebrated on Easter Sunday. In the modern days, it is the season when people deny themselves the worldly pleasures and undergo fasting and try to maintain a simple and frugal life. Some believers go to the extreme and decide to have themselves nailed on a cross,imitating Jesus Christ, to which the church strongly discourage people from doing so.
Pasyon is a popular part of the commemoration. It is an epic narrative of the life of Jesus Christ that is focused on Passion,Death and Resurrection. It is delivered in uninterrupted recitation, Pabasa, of the whole narrative.
During the Holy week, as traditionally observed, white meat and luxurious meals should be avoided. From Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, television and radio stations only air Lenten specials, such as dramas or shows depicting the story of Jesus. Restaurant menus may temporarily exclude meat particularly pork. Shopping malls limit their time of operation but close the whole day on Good Friday. Few establishments are open but resume operations mostly on Black Saturday.
Although not all Filipinos take part in this religious event but since it’s been a long and widely-popular tradition, as Catholicism and Christianity are the largest religion in the country, it is national and regular holiday for everyone.
As for the corporate world and the working class, the Holy Week is a welcome break from the painstaking daily business. As others are into self-denial and reflection, it is a time to spend with family or a perfect season to travel and enjoy the summer. No wonder prices of transportation and accommodation skyrocket around this time of the year. So if you are planning to visit the country, these are the dates you probably would like to avoid as bus stations and airports are packed with local and foreign travellers. Beaches and resorts are the most popular destinations.
Regardless of our religious affiliations, or lack thereof, it’s nice to make time for self-introspection and reflect; make peace not only with the outside world, but more so with one’s self. Take a breather! Whatever it is that needs to take some time away from, take the opportunity when it arises.
Let’s discuss with aimtalk teachers:
- What do you know about Easter? Is it celebrated in your country?If yes, how do you celebrate it?
- When is the longest consecutive holidays that you have? What do you usually do during those times?
- What foreign tradition would you like to experience? Why?
- What’s the importance of keeping traditions alive? If you were to choose, which local tradition would you like to be passed on to the next generations?Why?
Lent(n): the 40 days before Easter when some Christians eat less food or stop doing something that they enjoy
penance(n): something that you must do to show that you are sorry for something you have done wrong
repentance(n): when you are sorry for something you have done wrong
crucifixion(n): in past times, the act of killing someone by fastening them to a cross and leaving them to die
frugal(adj): careful to buy only what is necessary
commemoration(n):something that makes you remember and respect someone important or an important e event in the past
depict(v): describe something or someone in writing or speech
painstaking(adj): very careful and thorough
affiliation(n): the connection or involvement that someone or something has with a political, religious etc organization
thereof(adv): relating to something that has just been mentioned