Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lent Traditions

It's holy Wednesday, but of course this day does not happen here in Thailand. So I can't help but reminisce what we should be doing during the holy week if we were in the Philippines. You bet, all people seems to become very religious.

I was born and raised up in Cainta, Rizal. Most of my years were spent there. And for me, I may be biased here, the lent season have never been observed magnificently and meaningfully than any other provinces in the Philippines. (If you want to dispute it write me an email and I will post it here).

In spite of modernization or maybe because of it, the practice of the traditions become more glamorous and sophisticated. These traditions are: Pasyon, three-day or one-week non-stop singing or chanting of the passion of Christ based on the four gospels); the Cenakulo , a stage play of the passion and death of Christ; and Penetencia, dramatization of the arrest and walk of Jesus to the place where actual crucifixion will be reenacted. It was a week full of activities that will reach its climax when Jesus have supposed to die on the afternoon of the Good Friday. After this, the whole town will become unusually quiet, no children are allowed to play games, no singing, no drinking (at least out in the open) and the most weird thing of all--no traffic. This quietness will last until the Easter Sunday when churches will held a worship service or a mass, celebrating the resurrection of our Jesus Christ.

Surprisingly, I find an article about this tradition at the wiki and it is unusually accurate in its depiction of the events.

Cenakulo is a soul-nourishing cultural salads mixing all parts of Filipino psyche, faith, folk tradition, literature and penchant for bravura performances: The Cenakulo is a religious ritual, theatrical extravaganza and a personal expression of faith deliciously served in a platter of colorful costumes, eye-catching sceneries, ingenious effects, soothing verse and high energy performances. But the most sumptuous facet of the cenakulo is that it is a living, growing heritage; the cenakulo has become a force majeur that continues to bring together several generations of a community of various persuasions in preserving folk tradition in a proud expression of the town's distinct cultural identity. Staged during Lent’s Holy Week, the cenakulo derives its sequence of events from both the Gospels of the Bible’s New Testament and from the Book Martyr of Golgotha. Its translation into richly textured Tagalog prose sets the tone for its melodramatic rendering. Cenakulo is loosely derived from the Spanish term “cena” meaning “dinner" in obvious reference to Jesus Christ’s Supper at the house of Marcus. It is during the last supper prior to his crucifixion that Jesus instituted the Holy Sacrament of Communion: an act of supreme faith relived by Christians during Holy Mass. This particular scenario of the Last Supper forms the core of the cenakulo. Today it has been expanded to include various relevant chapters from both the Old and New Testaments. Its performing time runs to about 24 hours broken down into 3-hour segments performed every night of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
The wiki also has to say this about penetencia:
On Good Friday, the town witnesses a yearly depiction of the station of the cross in the crucifixion of Christ. A devotee, in hopes of being absolved from sin plays the role of Christ and voluntarily sacrifices himself to be flailed and whipped and be "nailed" on a cross, although most of the wounds are shallow and superficial. This spectacle might seem barbaric to a foreigner, however it has been a long-held tradition accepted by many of the inhabitants not only of Cainta, but of other parts of the country as well. This is held by 10 different groups at the Liwasang Bayan (town plaza) and in other parts of town.
It only not seems barbaric to me, it is indeed barbaric. I know this because my uncle pledged to do penetencia every year. My poor uncle would loss consciousness because of the beatings and his body looked would be full of bumps and blood in assortment of colors black, blue, purple and red. I knew because he would proudly show his body to us. Surprisingly, he would feel good. He was forgiven and free from guilt again. I guess, for him it's all worth the trouble.


Anonymous said...

Hahhahaa.shit laughtrip. your "english" is funny. can't. stop.laughing.please review your grade school grammar, because every other sentence is filled with wrong verbs and tenses and all that shit.hahahaha

Anonymous said...

1. The wiki also has to say this sould be, "The wiki has this to say about..." 2.It only not seems barbaric to me...WRONG. It should be, "It not only seems barbaric to me..." 3.My poor uncle would loss consciousness." Hahahha mean lose. 4.and his body looked would be full of..." WHAT does this even mean???. body looked would be full of bumps?WHAAAAT?hahahhaha!And the tenses in your paragpraphs aren't consistent.Jesus H. Christ this is funny.

Miko said...

I was searching for some info on Filipino customs and traditions in order to aid in a debate with my spouse, and came across this page. After reading your post and the two comments that followed, I am uncharacteristically compelled to comment and respond.

Whoever made the two previous comments is a disrespectful, sad, lonely douche. Seriously - you felt the need to belittle someone on the INTERNET!?! Grow up, man up and stop being a pussy. Wow you're so smart and tough! You can make fun of someone via the anonymity of CYBERSPACE!!!! Only pathetic losers troll the Internet and comment on other people's grammar. You are the personification of what is wrong with society today. Look in a mirror moron, your grammar is not any better! English is one of the most difficult languages to learn, and to criticize someone that may (or may not) have learned English a secondary language is insensitive.

To the original post writer: Try not to take those comments personally. What people say about you is more a reflection of them, not you.