In time of this year celebration of Holy Week, I have made a sort of reflection about today’s turn of event in our environment, tradition, and religion. I just thought of these things to think the state of the customs that we have grown with, what are these now in this modern day and time. What is the Easter then and now?
No matter how I look at it, I think observing the Lenten Season before was far more solemn, intense and sacred than today. I feel sorry to say this but our celebration of Holy Week today has somehow reduced some of its spiritual attachment and values.
I remember when I was just a child, Holy Week means a time of reflection, repentance and prayers. It was just natural instinct and self-initiative for everyone to observe real silence and peace as expression of respect to the holiness of the occasion. The nation is praying and it was inappropriate and really shame and disgrace if caught disrespectful against the religious practice. In our home, I can still remember we used to disown worldly things by rejecting the show of happiness either thru words or moves as if talking laud and asperity are sin.
In the season of fasting, sacrifices, repent and prayers, there was no amusement, gambling, drinking of alcohol, entertainment, music, even the radio and television are close. If there were handful programs, there were some religious programs that show Christianity but come Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are totally no signal for both. Commerce practically stops on these days. You can virtually see a "ghost town" for the whole nation is paying a day of mourning.
It was great sacrifices offered by the devotees. Having fun and enjoyment like garrulous were self-imposed mortal sins. Abstaining from intimacy includes in the sacrifice. And while everyone is fascinated in scrumptious foods, refusing meat foods and fasting were acid test to past. It was so nice to feel from Palm Sunday to Eastern Sunday, people were very spiritual and life was pious.
Now, it’s different story. Time dictates the changes. Along with the passing of times, the celebration of Holy Week has changed. Gone are the conservative days of serious adherence in the old tradition by reciting daily prayers, disowning mundane things, avoiding eating meat, and rejecting the merriment.
Because of the modern day, the commemoration of Holy week is no longer a show of external mourning because true grief exists in deep within. Looks like the clergy has loosened up some limitations, rejoicing is no stricter than before. Family outing, friends bonding, beach activities and traveling out of the country are now most often seen during the holy week.
In our time today, it needs to go along with the demands of the modern life to catch up the fast-phase life. Poverty forced us to double time our work just to make ends meet. In our hectic works, it is hard to blame the people whose only chance to get rest, to treat self and do grand vacation is only during the holy week.
In today’s time, I am still surprising whenever I see jubilant in whatever form of enjoyment. Anyway, the true penance and meditation are at the heart. However, let us not lose the true spirit of Lent. And hopefully we will not eventually lose the tradition that looks us good person.
Holy Week is the season of the year I like most because it is during in this time I can have more intensive time to meditate, reflect and repent. This has been my trait until I grew, my environment may have changed but I can never make to drift the flow of the modern time if what stake here is the sacredness of the belief that I am holding.
By Alex V. Villamayor
March 29, 2013
Good Friday 2013