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Lenten Season in the Philippines: Customs and Traditions

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The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, observes the Lenten season in a unique and vibrant way. For many Filipinos, this period is a time for reflection, prayer, and penance. It is also an occasion for elaborate displays of devotion and the preservation of time-honored traditions.

In this article, we explore the customs, practices, and artistry that characterize the Lenten season in the Philippines.

Holy Week in the Philippines: A Time for Solemnity and Festivity

Holy Week, which culminates in Easter Sunday, is one of the most important periods in the Catholic liturgical calendar. In the Philippines, it is marked by a combination of solemnity and festivity.

The Pabasa: A Traditional Lenten Ritual

The Pabasa, a devotional chanting of the life and passion of Christ, is a popular Lenten practice in many parts of the Philippines. It is usually performed by a group of devotees who take turns reading verses from a book called the Pasyon.

Visita Iglesia: A Pilgrimage to Seven Churches

Visita Iglesia, a pilgrimage to seven churches, is a cherished tradition in the Philippines. It is usually done on Maundy Thursday, where Catholics visit and pray in seven different churches, usually as a form of penance or thanksgiving.

Senakulo: A Theatrical Depiction of the Passion of Christ

Senakulo, a theatrical portrayal of the passion and death of Christ, is a popular Lenten tradition in the Philippines. It is usually performed by a group of amateur actors in a public square, and is a highly anticipated event in many communities.

The Artistry of the Lenten Season: Intricate Processions and Beautifully Crafted Floats

The Lenten season in the Philippines is also known for its intricate processions and beautifully crafted floats. Many communities create stunning tableaus depicting scenes from the passion and death of Christ.

Lenten Food Traditions: Fasting, Abstinence, and Special Delicacies

The Lenten season in the Philippines is also a time for special food traditions. Many Catholics observe fasting and abstinence during Holy Week. Some communities also prepare special delicacies like Binignit, a sweet stew made with root crops and coconut milk.

How the Philippines Celebrates the Lenten Season During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how the Philippines celebrates the Lenten season. With restrictions on mass gatherings and mobility, many Lenten traditions have been modified or moved online.

Despite the challenges, the spirit of faith and tradition remains strong in the Philippines. The Lenten season continues to be a time for reflection, prayer, and devotion, and a showcase of the Filipino people’s rich culture and heritage.

The Lenten season in the Philippines is a time for solemnity, reflection, and festivity. It is a period of devotion, artistry, and tradition, and a showcase of the Filipino people’s deep faith and vibrant culture. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the spirit of Lent continues to thrive in the hearts and minds of Filipinos everywhere.

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