Have A Meaningful Holy Week With These Lenten Traditions
by Sherry Tadeja, April 10, 2019 11:33am
The Lenten season is the peak of religious traditions in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country. This season observes religious practices like prayers and processions. It also stresses penance, repentance, and sharing. During the Holy Week, work is paused, and most establishments cease operations to give way to this religious observance.
Since this season happens around the peak of summer, most take this time to go on a vacation or take a much-deserved break. It's not entirely wrong to unwind but for a change, if you don’t have plans for the break, why not practice these observances?
Fasting is an act of penance and sacrifice mirroring what Jesus did in the desert for 40 days. Some follow the 40 days fast starting at Ash Wednesday. Although in the Philippines, the practice of fasting is usually done only every Friday of the Lenten season (maybe the reason for Munggo Fridays!)
What You Can Do: If you are to fast on food, try a gradual fast. Don’t surprise your body to an immediate one. Give up meat for a day, lessen the portion of your meals next, until you can give up a whole meal with bread and water as a substitute. See how your body and mind would react. The practice of fasting is a good reflection, too. Being able to set limits to yourself and not indulge in what’s more than necessary.
People have had always connotated this word next to sex—it's not entirely wrong for abstinence means restricting oneself to pleasures like alcohol, food, money, power, etc. Like fasting, abstinence isn't a one-way street as it can be interpreted and done in different ways.
What You Can Do: Detox from social media, step back from unhealthy habits, or stray away from vices. This can also be a starting step to fully give up on your bad habits.
Visita Iglesia or the Seven Churches Visitation is an upheld tradition every Holy Week. It involves visiting seven separate churches around an area to either pray or recite the stations of the cross. This pilgrimage-like trip gives the opportunity to tour different churches around the metro and appreciate its architecture—and even the Catholic practices.
What You Can Do: If you're not into the repeated praying affiliated in this activity, you can be a lowkey tourist and marvel on the History these churches represent. Some churches are on-point subject for outdoor photography and fascinating architecture—that’s plus tourism points for the area, too.
Confession, from a religious perspective, is the admittance of one's sins usually initiated in the presence of a priest. The confessor owns up to his wrongdoings and takes responsibility for it.
What You Can Do: You may take this time to confess to a priest or any higher representative of your faith. Or do it yourself: admit your wrongdoings, reflect, and make actions and precautions to make up for them. If you hurt someone, reach out and apologize. Or if it’s the other way around, forgive.
Reflection is contemplating everything you have achieved, failed to do, decisions you stood up for in more in-depth thinking. It’s an excellent way to check up on yourself if your values make you a better individual to yourself and others.
What You Can Do: There are many ways to reflect, religious or not. You can reflect by writing, reading the Bible, sharing with friends or through meditating. Find a peaceful spot and do the reflecting which serves you best. From there, you can achieve a clearer mind to self-process yourself and maybe reset you for betterment.
This is likely in the form of a holy mass for Catholics or church service to other Christian faith. Religious celebrations during the Holy Week vary from the regular Catholic celebration format, so that’s a good excuse to attend one.
What You Can Do: It's better to end a reflective week with a religious celebration. Be it a holy mass or worship, it's fitting to cap it off in a church service to renew yourself for a week well done.
Whether you believe in a Higher Being, you can still adopt one or two of these traditions and make it your own. Holy Week is about pausing and slowing down from this fast-paced life. Find time to gather your thoughts and reflect. Not only is it good for conscience, but also good for your mental health as well.