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Holy Week

From the Lenten Season where Filipino Catholics observe this period of fasting and penitence, the commemoration of Jesus Christ's sufferings heightens during the Holy Week. While Easter is a focus of celebration during Holy Week in most Christian countries, the Philippines, (a nation of more than 85% Christians and mostly Catholics) commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ beginning on Maundy Thursday. However, Filipino Catholics emphasize Good Friday (the day Jesus Christ died) as the important day of their lives to reflect and honor Christ's sacrifices for our salvation. Intertwined throughout the Philippine history, the society and cultural background of the Filipino people can be traced back from the Spanish colony.

Santo Entiero Procession - Biernes Santo 2003

In many parts of the Philippines, Filipinos gather together at church to reenact Jesus Christ's sufferings. Many of the reenactments mimic Christ's real-life painful sufferings in the forms of whip inflected upon their bodies, carrying a wooden cross through kilometers distance, crowning of thorns upon their heards and even extreme crucifixions. This is all because of the Filipinos' outpouring gratitude of the Heavenly Father's gracious Blessings. Such sacrificial reenactment is a way the Filipinos seed out their reflections about life, about the good and evil through soul searching as well as review of conscience.

Santo Entiero Procession - Biernes Santo 2003

In consonance with the country's cultural belief, the Philippine Government also honors such celebration/commemoration by declaring Holidays - from Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. This year (2003), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Wednesday a holiday, in addition to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday national holidays. Government and private offices were closed from Wednesday thru Sunday. This allows the Filipino people to return to their home communities or to places where they plan to celebrate the Holy Week.

Santo Entiero Procession - Biernes Santo 2003

In the province of Misamis Occidental, the people celebrate the Holy Week similar to the other parts of the Philippines, however, in smaller scale. For example, in Oroquieta City the churhes conduct special masses throughout the week. Procession is done every Good Friday after the Siete Palabras (Seven Last Words) and mass to commemorate the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Different statues representing the passion to Calvary are depicted during the procession, The Santo Entiero is the last statue which shows Jesus who had just died. The floats of the statues are all decorated with flowers and other ornaments. At the end of the procession, people rush to these floats and get the flowers for amulet (good luck charm). Many people believe that such thing will bring good luck and blessings into their lives, such as in fishing, farming and in business.

Last Friday, three (3) churches in Oroquieta City held processions. These churches were the Roman Catholic (Holy Rosary) Church, the Philippine Independent Catholic Church (also known as Aglipayan Church and is comparable to the United States' Episcopal Church), and the National Church. The Catholic Church started procession at their usual time 4:00 p.m. The Aglipayan Church started before the Catholics so timed that its tail end passed the Rizal Street (fronting the Catholic Church) by 4:00 p.m. for the Catholic Church to start their procession as well.

The Holy Week ends on Easter Sunday. On Early Easter Sunday at dawn, a program or service called "Hugos" (Meeting at Resurrection) is held. This program depicts the risen Lord meeting the Blessed Virgin Mary and the choir of angels singing Alleluia. Young Filipino girls are slowly hoisted down from the top of a homemade bamboo pillars singing Alleluia as the whole program mimics Jesus Christ's Ressurection.

Ging Mutia