It will just be more than a week to Good Friday this 2018 and this post ponders about past traditions that starts to be forgotten in lieu of other things.
I like to think of myself as an observer: There seems to be something to always ponder upon. Most times those are mundane ones but there are some things that seem to recur every time I observed them. One of my recurring ones was the Holy Week. As the years fly by, there seems to be a collective change in the populace. During the 90s, Holy Week seems … holy. Life seems steady and everybody seems to be observing the solemnity of the event.
Going further into the nostalgic trip, I remember that every chapel will have its very own pabasa and there seems to be a sense of community in there: There are of course the readers but there are also people preparing salabat and will cook food for those willing to read. Nights during Holy Week were littered with the simultaneous sounds of pabasas. I guess because during that time, the technology was really archaic (comparative to what we have now) in that there is no internet and no cable TV. You will be forced to either watch the programming airing by the local stations or not watch at all. (Remember when TV Stations during Holy week would sign on at noon?!). Travelling is not as easy as it is now (forget the traffic conundrum) that I guess vacationing to holiday destinations were a far fetch idea back then. Most of our travels during the week would be going to church and / or shrines and doing Visita Iglesia. Public transport were scarce and you could never see vehicles during Good Friday. Aplenty (in my neck of the woods) are people walking around doing penitensiyas.
Nowadays, that seems to be a faint memory of the past. Last year, I only heard one pabasa at night, we can Netflix and/or IFlix our way through the week, we still do Visita Iglesia but most seems to took vacation/leisure time, television stations seems to be as active, a lot of people now are still working throughout the week, convenience stores and/or malls are still open (though some are limited) and penitensiyas seems to out of sight, out of mind. Sure some corners of the county still does some things but here in the metro, not so much.
I am writing this not to give opinions on our current state of devotion and there is nothing inherently wrong in doing the thing from the previous sentence but for me (whether I’m being nostalgic of the past…I really am not entirely sure) I observe that we are busy even during Holy Week. Last year, I was planning to do some reading on books that are collecting cobwebs for a few years and yet I haven’t done it because it ended up that I’m still doing the things that I usually do in a typical week except going to work and actually working part. I remember just ten years ago, that there are days during those four days where there is nothing for me to do but to just sit by the terrace and just clear my mind: think about something else other than my school work and that more than going places is where I felt the most at zen which I try to emulate now during vacations (sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t). No matter what your religious affiliations are, having a four non-working days can be an opportunity. Yes, some may argue that it is the longest regular holiday and we should take advantage of it but I think that we should do something else. For me, Holy Week should be a time for me to just clear my mind of the daily grind of things: I am allowing myself to not think about my work progress, my programming schedules or my friend’s social media activities. I know I can do that during travels but they also have their own mind baggage that sometimes the mind stress can be too much. As much as the body needs a detox once in a while, I think the mind needs to do the same. But again, that is just me.