Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Week in the Philippines

It's the Holy Week in the Philippines once again. The word "Holy Week" translates to many languages in the multi-lingual Philippines.

Photo from boston.com

To some "Holy Week" translates to "spiritual retreat" after a whole year's work. It can also translate to "pabasa" and "processions" that slow down traffic in the provinces.

Others translate "Holy Week" to family reunions, with all its appendices. It's why the bus stations, airport terminals and ferry docks are full of people during the week.

Batangas Ferry during Holy Week, from iguide.travel

To others, "Holy Week" translates to "Boracay" or anything else that means the sun, beach, inihaw na pusit, and bare bodies swinging by.

Boracay in Holy Week 2009, image from cocomangas.com

You can see all of these definitions operating at the same time in the neighborhood, especially in the provinces. These are all part of the Filipino landscape already, Catholic or otherwise.

To many of us, the Holy Week in the Philippines may just be another event incidental to our birth and culture as Filipinos. We deal with it because it's there.

I have a prayer for each one of us this week. May we all find personal meaning to the Holy Week that is happening all around us this week.

There is a big and liberating reason why we call it "Holy" and why it has to last a whole "Week." May we all find that reason within each of us, wherever we may be, and in whatever way we may be spending the week.

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