Saturday, April 23, 2011

Remembering Holy Week

Today, Black Saturday, Jesus’ body remains in the tomb
during the Jewish day of Sabbath.
Jesus “rested” on this day, be reminded of the rest that Jesus calls us to.
Spend some time resting today by taking a nap or relaxing.
Consider reflecting on the Apostles’ Creed.


Clothes waiting to get dry hang all over my bed. Windows are quarter unclosed to let a little sunshine dries them up as quickly as possible. Can't wait to clear my sight of all the colorful distractions around. Can't wait to clear my head of all the bugs and burns my work and my life give me at the moment. Soft music plays on, bass and treble out. Gary V's "Take Me Out of the Dark", "Could You Be Messiah?" and the likes, couldn't get any more reflective. Today, God's "resting". All I want now, is do the same.

Few moments have had me just laying down and reliving memories when life was so much different than today. In this place where solemn refuge is elusive, finding it somewhere usually takes me far and often to places and events wistful and nostalgic. My earliest recollection of holy week could be twenty years ago. Back in time when people's opinion didn't matter at all, when the look on their faces didn't mean anything at all and when all I cared about was the grandness of my innocence. Like all others, I used to be a child, playing, making friends, watching lives unfold cluelessly,enjoying summer and during holy week, kidding around on the backdrop of the traditional mahal na araw.

Years later, I have no idea how things have changed in that little barrio where I came from, where the celebration of the holy week would rival that of the Christmas season. I remember, in our kapilya, there would be a weeklong uninterrupted pasyon reading. At different times, you would hear different voices in different tunes reciting the pasyon in chorus. At dusk daily, there would be Daang Krus (Way of the Cross) where the final hours of Jesus Christ is depicted by a series of 14 pictures each being sponsored by families within a particular purok. A giant cross is carried by representative from each family as the procession moves from one station to another. It begins and ends in the kapilya, where after the long devotion and parade, everyone, especially the children que in for a free hot sopas.

On the other side of the kapilya is an open ground where the liga are being held. There would be basketball tournament for men and volleyball for women. Competing teams represent each purok that comprise the entire barangay. Like tournaments in bigger scale, fights were always heated and everyone wanted to slay the other. At the end of each game, the winner celebrates while the loser has a ready accusation of cheating and irregularities and that what gives the holy week it's unsolicited colorful, funny and sometimes dangerous side. Around the vicinity of the kapilya, you would find an abundant array of merienda and samalamig. From halo-halo, BBQ, bananaq, mani, nilagang mais, turon, puto, suman, lumpia, sago, gulaman, buko, etc the choices were as plenty as the expressions of the people who flocked the kapilya for both meditation and fun.

Black Saturday is when people went out to enjoy the waters. Luckily in our barangay, a portion of the Pampanga River passes through and that gives the whole community enough water to enjoy after a weeklong tone down of their usual routines. Families and group of friends would build tents along the riverside bringing all the food they could get, including beers, grills and loud music. It was the joyful part of Lent back then. I have been there many times when a still a kid growing up and I wonder how it is right now. Does it still take lives all the while it provides life to countless life forms?

It's been decades since I have been to that place or rather moments where holy week mattered more than as a date in the calendar. It was a tradition and culture. I was kid then but the sights and sounds were clearly remembered. There weren't that much on the "reflection" aspect considering my age that time, but what's worth it? Ahem, I have been once a child, playing, making friends, watching lives unfold cluelessly, enjoying summer and during holy week, kidding around on the backdrop of the traditional mahal na araw.


Tomorrow, very early in the morning, the disciples go to Jesus’ tomb to find it empty. The course of human history is changed forever. He is Risen! He is risen indeed! Get up early. It's Easter. Rejoice in Jesus and his resurrection from and power over death! Greet people throughout the day. Share this day with friends and family members.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Duboy,
    Happy Easter! Ganyan din ang holy week sa aming province noon except yung pa-liga. isa ako sa mga taga-basa ng pasyon sa aming baryo, madaling-araw ang time namin para konti na lng ang gising. hehe...(inulit ko lng ang verbal comment ko)

    Tanong ni father tom kanina sa mass, 'bakit kayo nandito ngayon?' Sinagot niya ito, 'It's because you love Jesus and you want to express your love.' sumasang-ayon ako kay father. :-)