18 April 2014

My Good Friday Flashbacks

WARNING: Some photos may be disturbing for you so read at your own risk.
I could not help but get nostalgic today because I am sorely missing my home country during this time of the year, the Holy Week. So I've decided to check my photo archives and voila! I found my Holy Week snaps back in 2008 using just my mobile phone.

If you still do not know where I am from, let me tell you that I am from the country that is made up of 7, 107 islands called Philippines. It is located in South East Asia along with Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and a few more countries.

If I am not mistaken, we are the only Christian country in that region and being a nation with majority of its people as Christians, Holy Week is one of the most important events that we celebrate. Basically, the Holy Week commemorates the last few moments of Christ before His resurrection or what is more known as Easter.
Mamusan Krus Magdarame
Magpalaspas Magdarame
Mamusan Krus Magdarame without their crosses
In the Philippines, there are Holy Week traditions that Christians religiously observe during this time of the year. For example, in Pampanga, my beloved hometown, Catholic devotees would have their Pabasa / Pabasa ng Pasyon (Reading of the Passion). This is a popular Holy Week ritual wherein devotees will chant the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ thru a narrative that is composed of carefully selected words to fit the eight syllables per stanza requirement. Everyone is welcome to chant during the Pabasa and I have had my own chanting experiences.

Our Puni back in 2008
Our puni has been using the same Pabasa Bible ever since I could remember!
Our Pabasa handwritten in Capampangan
Anyway, aside from the Pabasa, penitence rituals is another famous Holy Week tradition in Pampanga. Catholic penitents believe that one of the ways to repent for their sins is to experience what Christ had experience before He was crucified. Some penitents or magdarame in Capampangan (a local Pampanga dialect) would carry a huge wooden cross just like what Christ had carried and walk their way to every puni (a makeshift area where Pabasa is being held) and church that they can visit usually barefoot. These penitents are called mamusan krus (in Capampangan) / nagpapasan ng krus (in Filipino). Another kind of penitents are those who self-flagellate known as magpalaspas (in Capampangan) or nagpapalaspas (in Filipino). Their backs are deliberately wounded so they'll start bleeding and then these flagellants would start hitting their bleeding backs with their palaspas (a whip with a bunch of wooden sticks in the end). There are also those called magsalibatbat (in Capampangan) who crawl their way to the puni or church. Lastly, there are those penitents who get themselves nailed on the cross during Good Friday. They are called kristos.


In our street where we have our very own puni, the penitents who visit are those from the first three kinds. We do not have the kristos because those penitents are usually found in Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga. It gets flocked by local and even foreign tourists during Good Friday to see penitents get nailed on the cross.
Station of The Cross Procession
Devotees joining the Station of the Cross Procession
Children at night waiting for more magdarames.
The children are the barkers whenever there's a magdarame coming so that the people in the puni will start the special Pabasa chant for magdarames.
Since today is Good Friday and I cannot feel its presence here at our current "home away from home", I could not help but get sentimental. It is because aside from the spiritual and religious aspect of this day, being together with my family and watching movies like The Ten Commandments and eating mader's sweet dish are what make my Holy Week truly special.

Okay, I am officially SUPER homesick right now. Somebody take me to the Philippines please!

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