Hope and renewal

Published March 31, 2021, 8:00 PM

by Sol Vanzi

And other beliefs this Holy Week

SHOWER FROM THE HEAVENS Rain during Easter Sunday is considered Holy Water

Today is Pasko ng Pagkabuhay, the Tagalog term for Easter Sunday. It means new life, rebirth, hope. Light at the end of a dark tunnel.

For many Filipinos, it also marks the end of a week of observing superstitions. For a lucky few, the week ends with magical powers from witches and holy mountains.

In a country that is roughly 80 percent Roman Catholic, Holy Week superstitions are woven into religion. For example, it is supposed to be bad luck to take a bath on Good Friday and Black Saturday, the period when Jesus is dead. But rain is considered Holy Water if it falls on Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rises from the dead.

Sungka and board games are the only games allowed

Sweeping the house between Good Friday and Black Saturday is discouraged because good luck and fortune will be swept away with the dust.

Many stay away from knives in the belief that wounds sustained while Jesus is dead would take a longer time to heal.

Good Friday and Black Saturday are considered days of mourning, and everyone should be quiet and solemn. No karaokes, honking of car horns, laughing, radio, TV, or loud conversations.

Children are not allowed to run around, and are restricted to board games, sungka, jack stones, and books.

Pendants or anting-antings sold at Hinulid Chapel, Calabanga, Camarines Sur

Despite the intense heat of summer, believers are warned to stay away from water—no bathing, no swimming, and no travelling by boat.

While Jesus Christ is dead, many believe that the presence of evil spirits is much stronger. It is when many send their “anting-anting” to be blessed by herb doctors to strengthen its powers and recharge.

Because many believe that evil spirits roam around after 3 p.m., children should not stare at mirrors as it could trigger the spirits to come and possess them. Sometimes mirrors are even covered.

Sweeping the house is not allowed

Another superstition is placing the palm leaves blessed on Palm Sunday on door fronts in order to drive evil spirits away.

Good Friday and Black Saturday are considered days of mourning, and everyone should be quiet and solemn. No karaokes, honking of car horns, laughing, radio, TV, or loud conversations.

Many believe that moving into a bare home before Easter Sunday can bring bad luck and it is better to wait until after Holy Week because by then Jesus shall have risen again.

Palaspas hung at the door to drive away evil spirits

While water activities are almost banned during Holy Week, elders highly encourage members of the family, especially the sick to go outdoors and experience the rain if it falls on Easter Sunday. It is believed that the rain contains healing properties. Some even keep rain water in bottles for future use.

The most popular magical spots during this period are Mount Banahaw and Siquijor Island. Of the two, Siquijor has the negative image of witchcraft while Mount Banahaw is often described as holy. Both, however, are sources of talismans and spells with alleged supernatural powers, which are heightened during Holy Week.

Because of current Covid 19 travel restrictions, city folk have only one alternative source for talismans and love potions: the vendors around Quiapo Church. Just be sure each item has an accompanying chant (orasyon) written on a piece of paper.

 
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