Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Semana Santa/OWT


For Christians around the world, today is Holy Tuesday.  The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, celebrates Semana Santa (Holy Week) this week.  Semana Santa is a significant religious festival here, most businesses either shut down operations or have later opening and earlier closing times.  Local TV networks and radio stations have limited broadcasting hours or show religious programs only. No rock music over the airwaves during Holy Week.:p

I grew up watching these processions every year on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.   The processions were major events that we looked forward to when we were kids.  Floats with life-size statues representing the Passion of Christ are paraded all over town with accompanying music.  Devotees walking all the way from the church, across town and back.

Prominent families usually own a float which was handed down from generations, some of the antique statues were sculpted in Spain.  A relative on my mother's side of the family owns one of these floats---a parcel of rice field is farmed to finance the expenses of the statue---flowers, decorations, robe/fabric, gas to power up the lights, food to feed those who prepares the statue every year and for the family and friends who walk beside the float.

I had a personal favorite when I was a kid---a statue of the Mater Dolorosa.  She was beautiful, her eyes were so sad, her robe was always stunning, and she left a scent of perfume.  I didn't see her during this procession though--or I missed her because of the crowd.  I hope the owner has not retired her yet.


I am not a Catholic and my Semana Santa pilgrimage is more of nostalgia, of returning to my roots, of reliving my childhood---to hold hands with cousins and aunts while watching the procession passing by our street, to see familiar smiles and faces.


 The Santo Entiero, (the image of a dead Christ) encased in a glass casket is usually the last float in the procession.  The glass casket is guarded towards the end of the procession as people tend to grab the flowers---devotees believe that flowers from the Santo Entiero float bring good luck to fishermen.


This year, I am not going home for the Semana Santa but will visit nearby towns to watch the processions.  I am still thinking if I'd like to see some self-flagellation or crucifixion on Good Friday.  Let's see where my feet would take me.:p

These photos were taken last year on Good Friday in my mother's hometown of Valladolid in Negros Occidental.

17 comments:

Photo Cache said...

my uncle owned a karosa (float) of st. john and one time he parked the float in our balkonahe. that was unforgettable. we participate in the procession, making sure we stay by the uncle's karosa. i wonder in whose hands it is now? must be one of the nieces/nephew, i should ask.

Carver said...

Great shots of the floats used in the procession.

Snap said...

Always interesting to read how other cultures celebrate holidays. Wonderful post.

Gary said...

Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

EG CameraGirl said...

I bet seeing the parade brings back many wonderful childhood memories.

Robert Geiss said...

Impressive ! Thank you for this interesting journey. Over here, it takes still a bit of time until Easter. Please have a good Tuesday.


daily athens photo

❀~Myrna~❀ said...

Great Pics! Very interesting Post !

NixBlog said...

Very interesting post, Miranda. Australia is a very secular country and religious feeling is not expressed publicly and even ritualised religious expression is very sedate. It is always a surprise to many Australians to see such massiv outpourings of emotion and faith when they travel overseas.

We are Greek Orthodox and our Easter this year is a week later. However, the rituals are much more elaborate than the Australian Catholic or Protestant rituals.

Jenn said...

I am not a Catholic either and have yet to witness a Semana Santa. When I was growing up, for some reason, the self-flagellation or the crucifixion I see on TV gave me nightmares. Of course I have outgrown this and now look at it in a different light. I see Christ dying for our sins and rose again.

Thanks for this post. It has reminded me that Easter is not just another holiday, it is a reminder of why Jesus died and how he rose again.

Ebie said...

This is very reminiscent of my childhood days.

Here, the Ten Commandments is always aired on TV on Easter Sunday.

lemahy said...

Beautifully created post and interesting too.
Happy Easter time to you and yours!

magiceye said...

fascinating!
beautiful captures!

ladyfi said...

Wow - that is some wonderful procession!

Randi said...

Terrific night shots! And interesting information.

Kaori said...

What an interesting post! I'd heard about Good Friday but never knew about Holy Tuesday. Thanks for sharing :D

lotusleaf said...

Gorgeous floats! Your shots are super! Thanks for the history. Wherever you go this time, I'm sure there would be lots of photo opportunities!

kulasa said...

wonderful post...now you gave me an idea...I will be taking photos like this ones during the procession on Friday...thank you for visiting my humble world...I'd love to read your poetry...