Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top 10 Holy Week Traditions

he Christian world is busy preparing for the Holy Week. If there’s a Christmas Season where you’ll see beautiful lights of green, yellow, red, blue, and white shining in different houses, along the streets, and of course the most awaited gifts wrapped beautifully under the Christmas tree, then there is also a day when they remember the death and suffering of Christ. It all symbolizes the religious belief that the humble beginning of the Savior will never be forgotten since December 25 signifies His birth, and Holy Week represents the last days of his life, especially the physical torment that He received. As we approach this Lenten season, let’s learn these top 10 holy week traditions that are being received in several countries that religiously observe and keep them.
10. Bobolee
It is a known tradition in Trinidad wherein people make figures to represent Judas using rags. It’s one way of defining or representing the betrayal made by one of the apostles. Along with it, little girls wear apron and scarf with a paint on their cheeks while carrying a broomstick to visit people in the neighborhood to get free candies.
9. The Passion Play
In most of the countries that have devotees, they usually observe the death of Christ in different ways although they are doing it for the same purpose, and that is to make the self-sacrifice in order to be forgiven from their sins. It’s a procession, which is popular in Mexico, and other countries that have vast number of congregations and followers. They make a reenactment of what had happened to the last few breaths of Jesus Christ, wherein the highlight focuses on His death.
8. Black Nazarene
This is popular in the Philippines, wherein they call Holy Week as “Semana Santa” or “Mahal na Araw” in their native tongue. This is the tradition, where a dark colored wooden sculpture that resembled Jesus Christ is revered. Yes, it’s a life-sized sculpture, which was originally known in Spain, and it has influenced the early ancestors of the Philippines during the Spanish invasion in the country. In fact, it’s commonly the center of celebration in the country every year of January, where people make sacrifices in order to touch the Black Nazarene that carries the cross.
7. The Penitential Robe in Spain
Another celebrated and observed tradition that people in Spain do, where you would see a couple of people wearing the so-called penitential robe. This robe is used through the entire procession in the country, which is distinct because of its hood or capirote. It can actually be traced back historically as symbolism of repentance and forgiveness.
6. Large Bonfires
In the northwestern part of Europe, people gathere together and make large bonfires, which they also called as Easter Fires. This event happens on Easter Sunday and Monday that represents the chasing of darkness away during the winter season. It is also an effective way to unite people especially in communities, wherein people organize a festive night with heavy snacks, lager, and gin
5. Black Saturday
Based on history, it also refers to way of the cross that the Pope in Rome does early, being held in the Coliseum. It is also called as Black Saturday or Holy Saturday in several countries that observe the Holy Week. Another name of it is Easter Eve, which happens after Good Friday, and the day before Easter Sunday comes. It’s a day of mourning for all Catholic devotees where there would be Psalms recitations, reading the entire book of Acts in the New Testament, masses, and people hallow this day by not participating in any businesses, merchandising, and even performing household chores.
4. Maundy Thursday
It has different names like Sheer Thursday, Holy Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries. Some of the sacred activities done on this day are Maundy money, holding of masses, giving of alms, and of course, the visitation to the seven churches that were erected in Rome. It is also the day of abstinence from daily activities and eating of meats. Other countries also include the washing of feet and anointing of oil on this day that Roman Catholic churches do every Holy Thursday of the Holy Week.
3. Good Friday
This is the most sorrowful day among the days marked in the Holy Week since it’s the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Different Roman Catholics in different parts of the world give respect and remembrance on what Jesus Christ has sacrificed. There are Stations of the Cross remembering the many stages that occurred before during, and after the crucifixion. Other penitence activities also enliven the real sufferings that the Savior did for the world.
2. Palm Sunday
Prior to Holy Week, Palm Sunday signifies the commemoration of the Holy Week, and it’s a sign that the Lenten season is up. It refers to the Last Supper that is canonized in the Holy Bible of most of the Christian communities and nations that believe Jesus Christ. Another part of it is the deep kind of suffering that He had while in the Garden, which most of the bible scholars said was the most crucial part of His life, since it’s a big decision that changed the history of the world. This is a joyous feast to all Christians, where palm leaves are displayed in the door of their homes in celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ in Nazareth.
1. Easter Sunday
After the solemnity and individual solitude that people do from Monday to Saturday, people celebrate Easter as a gift of life. It marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ where you could see happy faces of people on the streets, and all businesses are in operation again. Of course, devotees don’t forget to attend masses to thank the Lord, and a testimony that He comes back again and He lives. Religious traditions are observed and the last festivity for the whole week is made

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