What to Expect for the 1st Post-Pandemic Holy Week?

30 March 2023
What to Expect for the 1st Post Pandemic Holy Week

Catholics have been keeping their Holy Week celebrations low-key since the global pandemic broke out. The last two years have seen a decline in large-scale public events like parades and senakulos.


Traditions that had been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic are being revived this year as the economy has completely recovered and life has returned to normal.


As a matter of fact, many people, especially those who had gone a few years without experiencing such festivities, chose to leave their house and lot in the Philippines for the long weekend in order to take part in the observance and extended holidays in their own provinces or various tourist spots.



Observing Holy Week 2023 with a Long Weekend

The days of April 6 and 7, 2023 (that is Holy Thursday and Good Friday), have been designated as national holidays by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. The President has said that it is meant to provide Filipino Catholics with a time of reflection in accordance with the observance of Lent.


In addition, President Marcos has designated April 10 of this year as a national holiday honoring those who have served their country. Although we are accountable for adhering to health and safety procedures, he said he hopes we all use this time to spend with our loved ones. Also, he hopes that everyone finds this moment to be peaceful and significant.



Celebrating the 1st Post-Pandemic Holy Week

Beginning on Sunday, April 2, 2023, millions of Christians throughout the globe will observe Holy Week, a time of somber celebration and remembrance. Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines says that the events of Holy Week, which is one of the types of holidays in the Philippines, are based on the biblical narratives and depict the last days of Jesus Christ's life leading up to his death.


This year, it is expected that everything will be back to normal circumstances and everyone can observe the Holy Week and celebrate this holiday like the pre-pandemic times.



April 2, 2023: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, is considered the first day of Holy Week and commemorates the day on which Jesus returned to Jerusalem after preaching in several cities throughout Israel.


On Palm Sunday, Filipinos gather at churches all around the country to worship and have the priest bless their palaspas, or plaited palm branches.


Waving palm fronds is a common part of Christian liturgy, and the branches are sometimes employed as decorative elements within churches. As the priest enters the church, the congregation waves palm fronds as a symbol of Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem.


The Palm Sunday tradition is also a sign of Christians' trust in God and one of the occurrences of Holy Week that fulfilled biblical prophecy.



April 3, 4, and 5: Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday

It is customary for Filipinos to do major acts of penance during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Many individuals take part in religious ceremonies during Holy Week to make good on a promise they made to God while praying for a blessing like a recovery from an illness.



Fasting and abstinence

Furthermore, throughout this week, members of the Catholic Church refrain from eating certain foods in honor of Jesus Christ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection for the sake of all people. Observant Christians often begin their period of fasting and abstinence on Holy Monday, while others choose Palm Sunday.


Whether it's a strict meatless day or a broad fast, many people use this practice to define Holy Week. According to the Church, this consists of one major meal each day and two other meals that, when added together, do not surpass the size of the main meal. Although alcohol use may appear at odds with the spirit of penance, no discussion of liquids during a Lenten fast has ever been recorded.



Taking part in the Pabasa or Pasyon

Filipino Catholics celebrate Holy Week by reciting the 16th-century epic poem Pasyong Mahal, which tells the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. A temporary altar and an image of the crucified Christ are set up in a chapel, a family home, a multipurpose hall, or your Lumina Homes neighborhood for the pabasa. The mambabasa are traditionally community elders who take part in the pabasa as a panata. The youngest members of the family are typically included in the singing as well.



Watching senakulo while eating famous Filipino snacks

In Filipino, the term Senakulo originates from the Spanish word cenáculo, which means "location where the Last Supper was held that Jesus Christ had with his disciples." In the Philippines, Holy Week is marked with a special presentation of a local theater depicting Jesus' life and death.


Usually done in the evening, family members and friends gather in these local theaters while eating some local famous snack in Philippines.


Meanwhile, Filipinos who don't participate in these observances are expected to travel to their own provinces or tourist destinations for a week of relaxation near the beach and eating some of the Philippines best food.



April 6 and 7: Holy Thursday and Good Friday

In honor of Christ's crucifixion, it is customary for Filipino Catholics to visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. For a long time, people have been using the term "Visita Iglesia" to describe this ritual to venerate the Blessed Sacrament.


Want to observe Visita Iglesia not far from Manila? Here are the churches to visit in Cavite.


Also, the evening of Maundy Thursday is dedicated for the Lord's Supper that many churches observe.


Furthermore, among the events of Holy Week, Good Friday is the most somber. On this day, Christians everywhere don their blackest garments and walk the Via Dolorosa, or the Stations of the Cross, in solemn remembrance of the suffering Jesus endured for their sins.


Malls, leisure parks, and recreational places are also usually closed during these days to observe the Holy Week services so for people who prefer to have their vacation for this year's holy week, most of them are expected to stay indoors with their family and loved ones during these days.


Some of them watch TV or have a movie marathon while others enjoy a relaxing activity at home while avoiding creating noise to honor the Filipino culture and this liturgical year. Other Filipino Catholics also listen to the Seven Last Words from Catholic priests by attending the Holy Mass.



April 8: Black Saturday

While waiting for the Risen Christ and Easter Sunday, Filipino Catholics still observe fasting and abstinence on this day.


On the other hand, being a special non-working holiday, shopping malls and other leisure places are once again open on this day so those who prefer to enjoy the long weekends can again plan to travel with the whole family.



April 9: Easter Sunday

The Salubong, or "welcoming," is the primary Easter vigil ritual. A statue of the risen Jesus is accompanied by men, while statues of the Virgin Mary are accompanied by still-wailing women. When the two statues finally meet, the mother and the son are reunited, and the joyful celebration begins.


Many families also grab this chance to have a reunion and celebrate after a week of abstinence and fasting from the Holy Week.



Whether you want to observe the Filipino tradition of Holy Week or want to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful week-long vacation, the affordable house and lot that we offer from Lumina Homes bring you closer to all these places and traditions.


Start now your home investment this year with our affordable house and lot for sale and delve into the deep Catholic culture of Filipinos every Holy Week!

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