Not-so-Holy Week

Friday, April 2, 2010

It’s Semana Santa once again and I can feel the lack of activity of my surroundings. Yet I’ve been noticing that as the years and trends pass, there are fewer and fewer people fasting and more and more people feasting during Holy Week.

I’m not in Manila right now so I have little or no knowledge of the current “trend” of spending (or rather celebrating) Holy Week. I’m currently stationed in a small rustic town in Palawan where some days can be as lethargic as Viernes Santo itself.

For some reason I feel more at ease with country people religiously committing penance rather than Manileños going on out-of-town trips for personal leisure forgetting the rest of the nation is willingly depriving themselves of such comforts. As from what I’ve observed here in Palawan, most probinsiyanos still stick to traditional religious activities such as not eating pork or to a drastic extent, drinking only water and consuming nothing else but air. Some even travel long grueling hours back to their far-flung hometowns to offer prayers to the Lord with their families. That way I can feel the spirit of the Holy Week far more than I did with the spirit of Christmas.

As for city-dwellers, the last three days of the Holy Week is virtually synonymous to a three-day vacation leave. It’s already common knowledge among Filipinos that Boracay is as populated as a street dog with fleas during this time of the year. In fact Prof. Andrew Fernandes of Personality Development said that going to Boracay on a Holy Week is like going to SM North EDSA on a three-day sale.

I’m not advocating religious submission. I’m not even a devout Catholic even if my birth certificate says so. I myself have never walked barefoot across a dirt trail nor gone on an H2O crash diet. On the other hand I don’t host pool parties nor go on a ladies’ night-out either. It’s simply a matter of sympathizing with devout followers and showing respect to the Holy Week and Christianity in general. But I must say the Good Friday Crucifixion Re-enactment in Pampanga is a tad too severe.

At this day and age, the way people spend Holy Week to feast rather than to fast is an indication that times are indeed changing. Filipinos are rapidly becoming more liberal and are freeing themselves from the chains of tradition and religion. Perhaps Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and the Internet are part of the main ingredients for this massive cultural shift.

There’s also a Filipino belief that going swimming on a Black Saturday can cause you to drown. They say it’s God’s way of punishing you for turning a blind eye to His Son’s sacrifice for our redemption. Now I’m not a believer of superstitions and old wives’ tales but a personal experience nearly converted me. My step-sister’s classmate went to the beach during last year’s Sabado de Gloria. Next thing they knew she was eaten by the waves and never returned to the surface. Her Friendster account now serves as her memorial.

Then again if that belief were true then there should be yearly reports of dead bodies floating all over the shores of Boracay.

P.S. This late afternoon a Muslim man walked in and asked why most of the stores are closed. Then it dawned on me that Muslims don’t consider Holy Week just as we Christians don’t consider Ramadan or Jihad.

2 Responses to Not-so-Holy Week

  1. ganyan talaga kapag holyweek. family reunion. lalo na mga artista ng pe-penance sa boracay. holy land yata ang boracay at nagpi-pilgrimage ang mga tao doon kapag holy week.

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Jiea Dee
Journalism graduate who became a seller of auto parts rather than a writer, her dream career. She has then revised her plan to make turn writing, instead of a living, to a hobby.
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