Remember just a little while back I wrote an article about planning a strategy for getting your money every month in the Philippines without stumbling of the International Dateline.
There’s another little trap associated with the calendar that is very close at hand … and it’s an issue that will come up over and over again while living in the Philippines … Holy Week.
Now this site is visited by people of all sorts of different religious persuasion, and I’m all for every sort of religious belief (or denial) you individually want to hold dear. because of this, there any people out there who tend to think, “I’m not Catholic”, or “I don’t believe” who looked at the headline and thought, why would I care about Holy Week, doesn’t have much to do with me.”
Guess again, partner. If you live in the Philippines, or if you deal with family or friends in the Philippines you better believe Holy Week has a LOT to do with you.
It’s coming. Coming fast. April 1st is Palm Sunday this year. From then until after April 9th, Araw ng Kagitingan (National Day of Valor or Bataan Day or Corregidor Day) , you will find businesses (banks) closed, stores “out of stock” (yes even more than usual) and traffic … big time traffic (April 9th is going to be especially scary this year, falling as it does on its usual date and coinciding with the huge flow of people coming back from the provinces afer a five (5) day weekend, Wahoo!.
Park your car, get money in hand before that week, stock up on groceries, and don’t expect to get a seat on a bus, or an airplane, visit Boracay, etc.
Trust me on this, guys and gals. Been there, done that, been stuck in the traffic.
Our friends at remeithome.com published this excellent synopsis as to what all these days mean. I use and recommend Remit Home and I am grateful for this article.
One final caution. remember that the last day in April you can depend upon your Philippine bank being open is Monday the 4th .. and some US income sources, like Social Security, don’t dieect deposit until the 3rd … which will be the 4th here in the Philippines, of course. Your Philippine bank will most likely be closed from the 5th until the morning of the 10th. So your banking window is, shall we say, narrow? Don’t oversleep
Holy Week Celebration in the Philippines The beginning of Holy Week is marked by Palm Sunday (Linggo ng Palaspas). On this day, Filipinos bring palm fronds (called Palaspasin Filipino) to church to have them blessed by the priest after Sunday mass. These palm fronds are then taken home and hung either by the family altar or on the front door, where it is believed to ward off evil spirits.
The next most significant day of Holy Week after Palm Sunday is Maundy Thursday (Huwebes Santo). On this day, Filipinos observe the Visita Iglesia (Church Visit). This is usually a family event, in which immediate, also often including extended, family members travel together to visit seven different churches to meditate on The Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross refers to a series of artistic representations, usually hung or displayed inside the churches, depicting the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion. The family prays over each of these stations in the various churches they visit during Visita Iglesia.
Good Friday (Biyernes Santo) is usually celebrated with various street processions depicting the Way of the Cross around many different cities in the Philippines. These processions reenact Christ’s endeavor of taking up the cross and walking to his death. Some places also hold the traditional play called the Senakulo on this day, which narrates the trial, death, and suffering of Christ. At 3:00 in the afternoon, Filipinos often offer a silent prayer, as this hour is believed to mark Christ’s death.
Black Saturday (Sabado de Gloria) is usually spent in silence and solemnity. Filipinos often just stay at home out of respect for Christ’s death.
Easter Sunday (Linggo ng Pagkabuhay) is marked by huge and joyous celebration for Filipinos. The festivities start at dawn with a procession called the Salubong. During this procession, a life-sized statue of Christ is brought by a stream of people towards a church, where a life-sized statue of Mary wearing a black veil (to express her bereavement) stands. Children dressed as angels are situated around Mary’s statue, often standing on a platform at level with her head, or with one child securely suspended in mid-air. When the statue of Christ arrives, the children sing, and the angel situated nearest Mary’s head announces that Christ is risen, dramatically removing Mary’s veil to signify the end of her mourning. Doves are often released or fireworks set off afterwards. Easter mass is then held in the parish. Some parishes hold Easter lunch beside the church after mass.