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The Filipino Holy Week and Its Traditions

Written By David D'Angelo on Friday, March 21, 2008 | 3/21/2008

The Filipino Holy Week is a week of solemnity as Catholics remembers the sacrifice made by Christ on the cross to save man from his sins. This week we can see lots of traditions unfolding like the reading of the "Pasyon" or the "Pabasa". "Pasyon" is a book which was first released during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines and depicts the story in the Bible up to Christ's death and resurrection. It is sung in a very traditional manner and usually last for more or less a day.

We can also see the traditional procession of saints and the "penitensya" or self inflicted suffering which is said to lessen the sins of those participating in it. In Baliuag, Bulacan the yearly tradition includes the procession of 83 life-size images of the story of Jesus Christ. The procession ends at the church with the parish priest blessing them. The images are owned by people in Baliuag and are transferred from generation to generation.

On Good Friday, the sight was that of people inflicting pain of themselves and sharing into the sacrifice and suffering of Christ. This is very common in the Philippines. In some places there are even those who are literally being crucified during this day.

Fasting is also common where eating of pork is avoided. During this season prices of alternate commodities used to replace pork will usually soar up as merchants takes the chance to make the most profit.

Visita Iglesia is also common where people visit at least seven churches during Good Firday. There is also the traditional seven last words during the mass at 3:00pm and the Senakulo which is a play of the stories in the Bible.

During this season programs at local televisions is also altered to give a feeling of the Holy Week though it has been very liberal today compared to the past wherein programming starts only at 6:00pm.

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