Today starts the Holy Week, which is the reenactment of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Palm Sunday, the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, is observed today in churches with the faithful waving their palm fronds as priests bless them with holy water.
Other significant days of the week are Holy or Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.
During the Holy Week, the Filipino faithful demonstrate their faith through traditional practices and colorful manner.
From the start of the week, or even earlier, until the early morning of Good Friday, Filipino Catholics sing the book on the Passion of Christ in the pabasa.
Holy Thursday is the observance of the Last Supper of Christ with his 12 apostles, where He also washes their feet. In parishes, this is done by priests among 12 selected parishioners. On this day, the Filipino faithful also go the rounds of churches for the Visita Iglesia.
Good Friday is observed with the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ. Churches discuss Jesus’ Seven Last Words, which are beamed in several TV and radio stations. The procession of the image of the dead Christ are also held by parishes.
Good Friday in the Philippines also has some penitents nailed on the cross in Pampanga province, while flagellants are observed in other areas.
On Holy Saturday, the Sabbath on which Jesus rested in the grave, the faithful observe the Easter vigil in parishes.
On Easter Sunday, besides the holding of the Mass, the salubong, or meeting of the Risen Jesus Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary, are seen in a tableau in front of the parish church.
Other people take advantage of the week to take a rest or go out of town for their long-awaited rest and recreation.
But many faithful observe the week in being closer to God by having confession, doing penance, reflecting on their faith, and doing good to others and to themselves.
Image credits: Bernard Testa