Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lenten Season in the Philippines

Both Christian and superstitious traditions mix in remembering the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Many still practice not eating pork/beef during the Lenten season, while others acquire some other forms of penance or fasting. I remember being told by my parents and grandparents not to take a bath/shower on Good Friday, or to be exhuberant in this day of ‘mourning’.

Beginning at noon on Friday, we would see several men naked from the waist up and walking barefoot as they scourge themselves with ropes or bamboo sticks. It’s a form of atonement for their sins, we were told. The pinnacle of this is hanging several men on crosses as a reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. All across town, there are dramatizations and reciting of the passion of Christ. All across the nation, the lent is celebrated with fervor and solemnity.

In Manila there is the Visita Iglesias, or the practice of visiting 14 churches and reciting the 14 stations of the cross.

In Marinduque, there is the Moriones Festivals, where people dress up like Roman soldiers to remember the beheading of Longinos. In Sipalay, Negros Occidental, quack doctors go to unexplored caves on Good Friday in search of amulets for healing and power.

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