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.
Our World - Tuesday