I am thankful that my weeklong stay in the Philippines coincided with the Holy Week. Our country is among those noted in its observance. In particular, Pampanga, Bantayan Island, Marikina and (some towns) in Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan are known for the procession. The day after my cousin’s wedding was Palm Sunday. And since then, I looked forward to the Holy Wednesday and Good Friday processions. I have missed these for years.
We live near the town’s church. Hence, an hour before the (Friday) procession, we chanced on checking the poons (religious images) in Natividad Street. Most of these were still being prepped up.
At 7:00 PM, the poons were already gathered infront of the church.
Just the same as most of the poons, the sakristans (altar boys) were dressed in black or other color which depicts sadness on a Good Friday.
In our town, there are at least 30 poons joining the procession on a Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. The images, more or less, try to show what transpired from the day Jesus Christ arrived in Jerusalem, presence of apostles, the last supper, his crucifixion, the sadness of the Virgin Mary and the day Jesus Christ’s body was layed in the tomb.
Among the 30 poons, there are specific ones which are supposed to join the procession only on a Holy Wednesday or Good Friday. These three photos in the above collage were taken last Wednesday, the rest were snapped on last Friday.
The order of presentation of the poons may vary from town to town. There is a general conception that Saint Peter (with his chicken) should come first as he is the first saint who would welcome you in the gates of heaven. Some towns decide based on their patron saints.
As mentioned earlier, most of the poons wore a different set of clothing on a Holy Wednesday (e.g. blue, red, etc.) in contrast to Good Friday’s black to convey sadness over Jesus Christ’s death.
In our neighbor town, before the evening procession on a Good Friday, a dapit is being held at 3:00 PM. Only the poon above (laying) and the Pieta or Virgin Mary in black gown are joining the procession. And on Easter Sunday, the salubong is done at 5:00 AM to commemorate and celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection. (I have not witnessed this anymore since I went back here last Saturday night.)
The town’s traditional band plays at the end of the line, followed by the hampas (penitents). The latter joins a Holy Wednesday and/or Good Friday processions, or do their sacrifices on morning of Maundy Thursday and/ or Good Friday. Although it is no longer observed in many provinces/countries, there are still believers in this means of forgiveness of sins. I observed though that there are groups of teenage hampas who seem to do it as a barkada activity or without a solid reason. Some children fear them because of the blood and with the misconception that blood showers from the hampas will transfer the latter’s sins or misdeeds to them.
How and where did you observe the Holy Week?