(Paintings by: Cresencio Bonifacio Adlawan)

When I was a kid Holy Week celebration is very solemn. I still remember that from Holy Monday until Good Friday were not allowed to play anything that involves running, using pointed objects or those that produce loud noises. We were not allowed to even fly a kite. The reason behind as what adults said, these prohibited acts will make Jesus suffering worst. Pointed objects might still harm him even if we don’t see him because he is a spirit.

As an obedient kid I just followed what they said and even reminded my playmates to obey them too. I am afraid that if I did harm Jesus he will punish me. I just played inside the house during holy week. I read comics and listened to the radio with Lenten Season theme. Because of this I learned to reflect about my life at an early age.

I always look forward to the Lenten Procession every Holy Wednesday and Good Friday at St. John the Baptist Church in Daet. Wednesday procession is more relax and colorful while Friday is very solemn and a bit spooky especially if you are near the skeleton statue which symbolizes death (Santo La Muerte). My father took me and my brother to watch it and we sat in the metal fence of the bank in front of the Freedom Park.

As I grew up it is not good enough just to watch it. I have to join the procession to feel it and somehow reflect on the death and suffering of Jesus. This is where the challenge comes in. Instead of praying the rosary, I always get distracted by the people I see along the way and the constant teasing of my companions. It becomes like a small reunion that is difficult to resist because you meet the people that you seldom see like former classmates, former teachers and even some relatives.

Of course, Holy Week is not complete without the Easter Sunday. This time we have to wake-up early in the morning to watch the traditional Hallelujah. It is where a small girl dressed like an angel with harness will come down from a tower like structure to lift the black veil of the Virgin Mary which symbolizes the end of her mourning. The girl has the responsibility of making sure that the veil should not fall when she lifts it because bad things will happen if it did.

When I think of it, Holy Week is a lot like life in general. There is time for everything. There is a time to pray, to sacrifice, to reflect and to celebrate. We get distracted and lost but we always find our way through because of our faith. There are challenges and mistakes along the way but if we hold on enough there is always an Easter to celebrate at the end.



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