Holy week or Mahal na Araw is a religious observance in the Philippines in seven days. Every year, Filipinos, which majority are Catholic, spend the holy week in different ways. Likewise, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), or the Philippine Independent Church, follows the same Holy Week schedule as the Roman Catholic Church. Despite different ways of celebrating, you must make it meaningful and a holy week well spent. Interestingly, we can even spend it remotely by getting connected through a reliable and fast internet connection.
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What is Holy Week?
Before the actual Holy Week which starts during Palm Sunday, Christians around the begin commemorating the sacrifice of Christ during the Lenten Season. It starts on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Good Friday, the crucifixion of Jesus. During Holy Week, Christians commemorate the death of Jesus by crucifixion and, according to their beliefs, the events led to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the liturgical calendar, it is one of the most important occasions for Catholics, specifically to Filipino Catholics and the Catholic church.
Here are the special days of Lent and the Holy Week:
Quaresma or Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of the 40-day season of Lent. Ash is said to symbolize both death and penance to begin Lent in a solemn and humble manner.
Palm Sunday or also called Passion Sunday is a Christian tradition. Palm Sunday commemorates the victorious entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter. It is related to the blessings and processions of palm leaves or palm branches in many churches. Some people celebrate this day, however, others do not.
Some people celebrate this day, however, others do not. In Christianity, this is the last Monday before Easter Sunday. It is the second day of Holy Week after Palm Sunday.
Holy Tuesday is the day that may or may not be celebrated depending on the denomination. This is the third day of Holy Week following Palm Sunday and Holy Monday.
Holy Wednesday is when Judas has been secretly waiting for the opportunity to hand over Jesus to the chief priests, and so, many Christians described the day asSpy Wednesday. It is the fourth day of Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday is also called Holy Thursday and Sheer Thursday. On Thursday before Easter, we commemorate the communion of Jesus at the Last Supper. It was accompanied by washing the feet of the twelve humble and poor, imitating Jesus washing the feet of the twelve disciples feet.
Good Friday is what we believe to be the most important weekend in world history.This is the day when Christians celebrate the annual commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Since the beginning of Christianity, Good Friday has been considered a day of mourning, repentance and fasting.
Black Saturday is also famous as Easter Vigil and Holy Saturday. This is a Christian religious ritual that ends Lent and takes place the day before Easter Sunday. Holy Saturday is a celebration that commemorates the last day of Christ’s death and is traditionally associated with his descent of victory over hell. The celebration of vigilance may include candlelight. This symbolizes the transition from death to the life of Christ and the ringing of a bell that marks the pleasant end of Lent.
Easter Sunday is recalling the resurrection of Jesus which is a way to renew our day-to-day hope of winning against sin. According to the New Testament, Easter day is three days after Jesus died on the cross. Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb on the third day after being crucified. Easter is the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah, who was persecuted, died for our sins, and resurrected on the third day.
Several ways to spend Holy Week 2022
Holy Week is usually commemorated with processions, special masses, and other prayer activities. These includeNovena and Stations of the Cross. However, people have different holy week celebrations and there are actually a lot of options.
Here are some of the meaningful ways to spend this year’s holy week whether through connecting from home or visiting some other places since the restrictions are at a lower level now:
Visita Iglesia is one of the holy week traditions in the Philippines whereby at least seven churches visits are needed. It is one of the most popular activities in celebration of the Holy Week during Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. This tradition seems to have come from a 16th-century Roman tradition led by St. Philip Neri.
You can visit different historical churches around NCR, other provinces, or even the local church near you. Some churches conduct Holy Week activities. An example of this is the carrying of the wooden cross on your back and sharing the suffering of Christ on the way to His crucifixion.
If you have the time and energy to travel far away from Manila, Moriones Festival is a festival that you should not miss! It is another way in making your Holy Week meaningful. In the island of Marinduque, which is considered the geographical center of the Philippines, is where the Moriones Festival or the folklore religious event is held annually during the Semana Santa. This is a feast dedicated to Longinus, a Roman soldier who fully converted to Catholicism after the miracle of Christ. Attending this festival can be a more fun experience when accompanied by family and friends.
Watch or Listen to Holy Week Special Programmes
During the whole duration of Semana Santa, a lot of television and radio stations broadcast Holy Week-related programs. This is in commemoration of the said observance. These shows or segments remind you of acts you have done in the past that you must repent in this special week. If you have access to cable television channels, you can as well watch movies or documentaries about Christ so that you can feel and appreciate His sacrifices for mankind.
Easter Sunday Salubong
Salubong celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Here, a procession of statues of Christ from one direction meets a procession of statues of the Virgin Mary in mourning from another direction. If you want to witness the re-enactment, you should get up early as this usually starts before dawn.
Rest and Reflect
Nowadays it’s normal to stay at home. Still, Holy Week offers a great opportunity for us to slow down, ponder and even relax at home. Furthermore, if you’re fasting or giving up meat, for the time being, you may be able to search for new recipes online to spice up your food a bit. Just make sure you are using high-speed internet for a seamless browsing experience.
Don’t feel guilty if you opt to rest at this specific time as the essence of Holy Week is to reflect upon our inner self, our values, and most importantly, the time to reconnect with our faith.
Spend this year’s Holy Week with Streamtech!
Beyond the recommendations above, there are actually a lot of ways to spend the Holy Week. Some of it makes us more connected to ourselves, family, friends, and of course, God. Through the internet and digital resources, we can learn more about the real essence of Holy Week and its following activities. Thus, a reliable internet connection is a must for faster loading and downloading speed so that you can browse through your devotion apps hassle-free!