Monday, March 25, 2013

Cuaresma: Holy Monday

The Interior of Saint Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Kawit during Holy Week
Purple Cloths drape the interiors of church, covering every single image inside the church -- echoing the vestments of the priests during the lenten season, the mark of the catholic churches during this time of the year.

The Purple Cloths used to cover the various images of saints and that of the Lord and His Mother represent a sign of mourning of Christ's passion, though the color represents a call to repentance. In some areas of the country the color of the cloth used is Black, though the usage of the latter is not that much popularized, it clearly demonstrates a state of mourning and gloom over the death of Jesus.

The covering of the images is usually done after the Palm Sunday celebrations in anticipation of the faithful masses' commemoration of Christ's death during Friday. Robed in tradition, the covering of the images as a sign of mourning is deeply rooted in the heritage... the heirloom of the Spanish conquistadors to what they once saw as "heathens" that has now become one of the largest Christian population in the East.

One of the most notable thing about holy week are the passion plays that are acted out on different days in different parts of the Catholic world, one of which is the Philippines. In Bacoor City, south of Manila, they have been acting out a holy week play on Jesus' final hours that lead to His death.

"Roman Soldiers"
For Eleven years, this slowly blooming economic city has been making this passion play, with actors numbering up to hundred people all dressed in regalia and simple clothes that depict the clothes of the biblical figures in Jerusalem centuries ago. With armies of soldiers, a dozen of disciples and other followers all walking around the city as they act out the story of how Jesus saved humankind.

"Women of Jerusalem"
The play has gone a far way from it's humble beginnings, with the people now enjoying mobile speakers and live telecasts of the play, tradition now thrives and mingles with modernity and is thus preserved, given another year to be seen by the town's youth and, perhaps, to be continued by them ages after this year's passion play.


Bells rang out as the Priest and altar servers lead the crowds as the actors walk through parts of the parish. The youth, who either volunteered or were coerced to be part of the play, proudly walked the streets in robes, veils, drawn beards, weapons and helmets. It was a sight to be behold.

"The apostles"

The practice of acting out Christ's final days on Earth are actually common throughout the world, but the Philippines is known for people who crucify themselves just for a prayer that has been granted or something that is being asked for from God. Today, traditions like these either die away or generate a new and progressive version of what was.

Cuaresma is a series of notes on traditions of Filipinos during Holy Week

All pictures are taken in Archangel-Saint Michael Parish, Bacoor City on Holy Monday of 2013 except for the first photo which was taken at the Saint Mary Magdalene Parish in Kawit, Cavite of that same date. South Bike offers tours to these areas in different posts regarding the churches mentioned.

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