Friday, April 06, 2012

Traditions. Holy Week

Three months after declaring that I will try to write more meaningful blog posts, I ended up with a total of 2 posts each for January - February and ZERO entry for March. Good job! Actually, I've been busy for the first 3 months of 2012 and that means I have a lot of things to write about! So today, I came across Bianca Gonzales' tweet about her blog being a time capsule and I suddenly felt inspired. There's no other way to start writing that to write. So here it goes.

Today is a Good Friday, a national holiday and I'm back in the city after an overnight stay at my province, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Unlike most people's province, traveling to mine is only 2 hours ride. That's roughly like watching 1 movie, 4 episodes of How I Met Your Mother or comparable to how long it will take to commute from Caloocan to Makati on a payday Friday.
Holy Week is one of the longest legal holidays that we have in the Philippines because the non working holiday starts on Maundy Thursday, to remember Jesus' last supper. For 2012, the holiday is extended on Monday because of the National Day of Valor to remember the Fall of Bataan during World War 2. The Holy Week is usually a 4 day break and I often get invited to go to the beach or visit my friend's provinces but I prefer to keep the family traditions on Holy Week.

Our ancestral home is a few steps away from our barangay's chapel where the "pabasa" is done. My nanay/lola was active on the church when she was able to walk but now my aunt/ninang is our family representative to the church activities. I remember when I was younger, I had a chance to sing the pabasa with my cousins and neighbors. It is not one of my shining moments because Im not very proud of my voice which was unfortunately streamed to the entire barangay. Hmm, maybe I should bring up that next year my cousins and younger siblings should experience that too.

By 4PM, on Maundy Thursday, the Galang family were complete on our humble abode with TV series and movies in stock since Globe's 3G is extremely doubtful. Internet is one of our sacrifice during Holy Week or on any random stay at our province. My cousins and I ended up on a 6 hour screamfest while watching The Walking Dead.
On the morning of Good Friday, once the pabasa is done, the penetensya starts. "Penitensya" is a tagalog word for penance. There are two types, the one who gets crucified on their cross and those who inflict wounds. Both gather first on the open area of the chapel before the parade that will end up on the river. I usually cringe at the sight of their blood but I respect the tradition. Because its done in the month of April, summertime in the Philippines, walking alone under the scorching sun can be considered an act of penance.

We are a Catholic family but we can be fun too, during Holy Week. I think, apart from watching the penitensya together, we also enjoy eating dirty ice cream together. Sometimes, we would buy the entire crate to the delight of manong ice cream!

Another tradition is selling softdrinks to people who joins the parade. My aunts own a store in front of our ancestral house and the cold drinks sell like hotcakes before and during the penitensya parade.

The holy week is a time to reflect but on our busy lives, it is also the perfect time to get together with our family. So for me, this is one of the traditions that I would like to keep.

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