My photo of Jesus Christ on the Cross
Happy Easter Sunday everyone! It is nice to be back, and the timing coincided with our celebration of Easter, or the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. This is one of the highlights of the celebration of Lent by the Catholics.
I know many of you here are not Catholics, but let me share with you some of the activities we had during the week-long Lenten celebration. It started with the Palm Sunday, where people reenacted the day when Jesus Christ was welcomed by people in Jerusalem. He was greeted happily by the people and was welcomed like a King.
Lenten Week Starts on Palm Sunday
In modern times, Palm Sunday is also observed, with people carrying coconut or palm leaves to welcome the Priest who represents Jesus Christ. The palm leaves were blessed by the priest before the start of the Holy Mass.
Catholics believed that the blessed palms, or the sprinkling of holy water into the palm, bring good luck when placed inside the homes.They believe that it offers some form or protection from dangers. In early times, people make a cross-like figure out of the blessed palm leaves and place the “cross” in front of their houses, in doors, and windows. They believe that it will deter bad spirits from entering their homes.
Some Catholics use the blessed palm leaves to make their harvest bountiful. Like what my parents did when they were still alive. They were farmers, so they mix the cut blessed palm leaves into the rice grains before sowing it into the field. They believe that it will give good and healthy rice plants.
I also remembered my mother who used the palm leaves as sort of protection against lightnings. She would burn a leaf or two, and let the smoke fill our home when there were thunderstorms.
But Priests warn the people not to use the blessed palms as sort of amulets. They advise people to just put it in altars at home, or give it back to the church to be burned and to be used on Ash Wednesdays, where people were anointed during the religious activity. Ash Wednesday is done some weeks before the Lenten Week.
Pabasa or Reading of the Book of Christ’s Passion
During Lenten Season, some people retain the custom of reading the Book about Christ’s Sufferings to save mankind. The verses on the book was chanted in a song, the tune or melody varies from one region to another. The book is sung all of its pages, without breaks. So the reading/singing usually lasts for some 20 hours.
Those who sing the Passion book are usually in groups of three or four, and they rest for a while, and another batch will continue singing the verses. I enjoyed listening to the singing.
The sponsor or the house owner where the “Pabasa” is being held prepares food for the “Passion” readers/singers and also for the guests.
It is one of the traditions which I hope will still be done by future generations.
Visita Iglesia, or Visiting of Churches is another part of the Lenten celebration. Families, or groups of friends visit one church to another and say prayers. Usually some visit nine churches, other complete the 14 churches to signify the 14 Stations of the Cross, or Christ’s Journey to Calvary before he was crucified for the sins of man.
On Good Friday, people are usually so silent; even in homes, there were no music or noises created to show mourning and to sympathize with the suffering of Jesus Christ. In the Afternoon, the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ were explained and usually reenacted by the church people. It is usually applied in contemporary times.
After the Seven Last Words, a Mass to show Veneration to the Cross is being held. People line up and kiss the cross to show respect.
Then a procession where big statues or images of Jesus Christ, or of the Santo Entierro or “Dead Christ” in a glass coffin was being carried by people, along with images of the Weeping Virgin Mary, St. Peter, and other saints were paraded in the streets. People who join the procession recite the holy rosary, or sing religious songs. They carry lighted candles to light their path.
The week-long observance of Lenten ends with Easter Sunday or the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
These are only some of the annual activities done by Catholics to commemorate the Lenten Week.