I grew up not going out of town during the Holy Week. My four siblings and I stayed home trying to be as quiet as kids could possibly be during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, because our parents told us that it was our sign of respect for and solidarity with Jesus. Somehow, these were the days when it was more fun to laugh and joke around. Indeed, “Masarap ang bawal!” And old people would say to those not observing silence, “Para kayong mga Hudyo!”
My parents would fast and we, the children, abstained from meat. We watched Jesus movies. My favorite was King of Kings, starred in by the late Jeffrey Hunter. I think I had a childhood crush on him, but only activated during the Lenten season, as this was his only movie I ever saw. ?
If I remember it correctly, Jesus movies were all that were available back then – i.e. pre-cable and definitely, pre-Netflix days. Come Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the TV screen will just show this.
So what else could children do? Go to church with parents to attend religious ceremonies such as the washing of the feet, stations of the cross, listen to the last words, do visita iglesia, listen to siete palabras (the last seven words). I also remember that almost always, it would be very hot inside the church, then after listening to the siete palabras, rains would pour in from dark seemingly angry clouds, just the way it was depicted in King of Kings and other Jesus movies!
Come Easter Sunday, we sometimes joined Mamang for the early morning salubong. But during most Easter Sundays it was the late morning mass for Papang and the rest of the family, followed by Easter lunch together. No one among the five children inherited my mom’s early riser genes.
Now that I have my own family
I married an early riser. Growing up, my husband Marvin spent his Holy Week in their hometown in Nueva Ecija doing almost the same church rituals as I narrated above. In fact, as a little boy he also played the role of the young angel in the salubong. During the Lenten season, they also observed silence, no frolicking in the beach or anything that’s associated with merry-making. It was more intense in their province as they were not allowed to take a bath on Good Friday! Yikes! ?
So, when we started our own family, we sort of fell into the same Lenten tradition of not vacationing (but bathing is definitely allowed!). There were only two instances when we travelled during the Holy Week, but all throughout these decades of being together, we stay put in the city and do things together.
Here are some of our family’s Holy Week traditions:
- Visita Iglesia. We visit seven churches. There was a time we always found ourselves stopping by the UP church. Maybe because part of this tradition was to eat street food near the church – inihaw na mais, fishballs, squid balls, kwek-kwek, isaw, kikiam, isaw, Betamax, tokneneng, taho, dirty ice cream, banana Q, camote Q, carioca, and many more!
- Modern Stations of the Cross. Visiting The Church Simplified version of the stations of the cross held at BGC has been part of our tradition since it started. Both parents and children appreciate the relevant interpretations of the stations. However, the restaurants nearby are “no match” to the UP street food varieties. ?
- Holy Week Clean Up. Since the younger years of the boys, I have involved them in this annual closet clean-up. Because they were the ones who had the last say whether a piece of clothing, pair of shoes, or toys should already be given up for sale or donation, they had to be the ones doing the clean-up themselves. (And of course, it decreases the burden from this mom! ?). This has been our mild form of Since last year, we have been doing it the Konmari way. And for me it has gone beyond my own closet, but also the other parts of the house. (Oh no! Now I’m overwhelmed!) If you wish to read more about this topic, click these links – From Traditional Decluttering to Tidying the Konmari way and Similarities Between Tidying and Investing
- First Quarter Family Goals Assessment. Ideally, we should have done our Q1 assessment soon after March 31. However, with busy schedules for both parents and children, the next sure occasion to be together is the Holy Week. So, we also carve out time from this season to talk about how our first quarter went.
- Online Retreat with Fr. Johnny Go, S.J. Among the things I have written down on my Family To Do List is to attend an overnight retreat. Unfortunately, we have not experienced this together as a family yet, but we have all done our individual retreats at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, the so-called womb to tomb place for the Jesuits. I highly recommend this activity. You may call the Sacred Heart Office to inquire about it. You may do a single day retreat or an overnight one. You may contact the Sacred Heart Novitiate c/o Joy or Nino at 939-5060 or 939-5069.
If a retreat at the Sacred Heart or anywhere else is not possible, try the online retreat by Fr. Johnny Go. No more excuse, as you can do it from the comforts of your home, the beach, or wherever you are. Click here or you may visit the Facebook page here.
- Jesus movies. Marvin chooses the movies that we watch together as a family. We usually talk about it, especially if the movie is depicted in the not so usual way.
- Just hang out. Since we’re all at home, this also provides opportunity for all five of us to just be together. I like this. ?
- Easter Sunday. When my parents were still alive, we always gathered together for Easter Sunday lunch. These days, we still do Easter Sunday lunch together with the families of my siblings who are not travelling during the season.
Traditions, whether during the lent or any other time, are important in every family. You may hear your youngsters moan and complain right now, but just let them and still carry on. When they grow up, they will appreciate all these because traditions bind families and foster intimacy. They give character to our families and help our children know themselves better.
- Today’s episode of Mom and Son Podcast features the story of newly-signed Sony Artist Bea Lorenzo! We hear not just the beautiful sounds of her unique instrument, the kalimba, but also the journey of how she became the musician she is today. What challenges does she face? How did she make the decision to become a full-time musician? Stream it now!
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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The nth Intelligence.
Photos from picturesboss.com, freedesignfile.com, YouTube screenshot of King of Kings trailer, Wikipedia.com, catholicsandcultures.org, Migrationology.com, itssimplyplaced.com, ilovedurban.co.za, happyfamily-solutions.com and pinsoflight.net modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.