Holy Week traditions rejuvenated

Apr 1, 2024, 6:14 AM
James Veloso

James Veloso


Last week, Laguna province saw a revival of the many traditions that had marked Filipino Catholics’ commemoration of the most solemn occasion in Christianity: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After more than three years of restrictions and online activities brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the complete relaxation of pandemic restrictions have served to rekindle the faith of devotees and pilgrims who participated once again in Holy Week rituals.

Pabasa, Visita Iglesia

As some local government units (LGUs) have noted in their social media accounts, many of the traditions that have been suspended during the pandemic are now once again being revived by Catholic churches and organizations.

These include the “Pabasa,” or the traditional chanting of the Pasyon (an epic poem narrating the story of Jesus Christ’s passion), as well as the Visita Iglesia, or the traditional visitation of churches during Holy Week.

In a recent media interview, Laguna provincial disaster risk reduction and management officer Aldwin Cejo noted that as many as 80,000 visitors and pilgrims have been expected to visit Laguna province during Holy Week.

“We are expecting an influx of travellers and visitors, those who are going to the resort and other destinations here in the province of Laguna, so according to our estimate more or less 80,000 or more travelers and visitors that we need to serve and prepare for their security,” Cejo stated.

‘Lolo Uweng’ devotees are back

Proof of this rejuvenated faith this Holy Week is the crowds of devotees who participated in the events of the Santo Sepulcro Shrine in Barangay Landayan, San Pedro City, Laguna.

The shrine hosted throngs of devotees not only from Laguna province but from other regions of the country who have come to venerate the image of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sepulchre, popularly known to its devotees as “Lolo Uweng.”

While authorities have yet to release official data on how many pilgrims attended Holy Week traditions at the Santo Sepulcro Shrine, it is undeniable that this year’s Lenten commemorations have once again cemented the shrine’s reputation as the “Quiapo of Manila.”

‘Epalitikos’ marring sanctity of Holy Week?

But if there’s one thing that has soured the devotion of Catholics and other Christians during this most solemn occasion, it’s the sudden proliferation of political campaign posters disguised as greetings for Holy Week.

The year 2024 being the year before midterm elections, netizens immediately pointed out the sudden proliferation of greetings from various politicians in Laguna province and elsewhere in the Philippines.

Las Pinas City Representative Camille Villar, in particular, drew flak from netizens who noted the sudden appearance of posters with her face notably larger than the “Ingat sa Biyahe” greetings in various areas of the country.

This drew speculation that the younger Villar is set to join her mother Cynthia Villar and her brother Mark Villar to the Senate – a fact lamented by Filipinos who have bemoaned the increasingly entrenched “traditional politics” in the country in past years.

"Ito ang sign kung sino dapat ang huwag iboto," was how netizen Gerry Baclagon put it in the "How's Your Byahe, Bes?" Facebook group.

Catholic faithful at the Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Barangay Narra, San Pedro City,Laguna recite the Pasyong Mahal, an epic poem on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, at the traditional Pabasa last Holy Monday, March 25. The Pabasa is one tradition that has seen a revival this Holy Week, with the complete relaxation of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. (Photo courtesy of the San Pedro City Tourism, Culture and Arts Office)

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