Whats The Lenten Story


This is what Black Friday looks in Manila, Philippines.

There are guys in the street doing self flagellation.  They are the guys that are half naked. I have a colored photo but even I who's use to seeing this in person got a bit squemish that I made the photo in B&W. So much blood.

My Grandfather (motherside) do this when he is younger. He would wake up early in Black Friday. Go to church and start there & walk around while he is hitting his back with a rope with small bamboo at the end. It does hurt of course cuz it is bleeding. He does this to repent from all his sins and as a promise when he requested something big from God and it was given to him. A lot of the guys who do this made a promise of self flagellation just so their sons and daughters will be given a chance to live from an ailment which can no longer be cured by science or medicine.

There are also people who walks with them who carry big crosses (some of them mothers).

After this they will go and bathe in a salty river. According to my grandfather the salt from the river heals the wound faster.

When my Grandfather got too old to do self flagellation. He continued his promise by helping the other younger guys cut their back. See before they start hitting their back one would do small cuts at their back to open old flagellation wound.

They can rest of course after on Saturday and celebrate on Sunday when God has risen from the dead.

This is actually the Lenten I know.

Fasting, self flagellation, sacrifice and celebration.
I miss this because of my Grandfather. He is passionate of his promise.
When he died I would still watched this in the street and would see his face on them.

At our household on black Friday, you have to do everything before 3pm (bathing, cooking, cleaning the house). As after 3pm its time for everyone even kids to reflect and pray.

There are also the nice bits like Visita Iglesia where you visit churches and pray while in there.

There are Prusisyon (religious procession) an event which you walk around a path from and to church while praying. Walking is not all bad as there are Caridad where you pass by people's houses and they feed you (this is their Thank You for answered prayers and blessing).

Then Easter where they have a program which called Salubong (Welcoming), there is an act where people will re enact Christ's going to heaven after rising from the dead.

Everything is just playing in my head now. A colorful cultural event. I so miss this.

Of course finding easter egg, eating tons of chocolates and enjoying the holidays is fun too. It is just not the same for me at least.



Thanks to my nephew Paulo for the photo.


14 thoughts on “Whats The Lenten Story

  1. Anonymous

    Oh my what a history and so much tradition, it does make our Easter Egg hunts and the Easter bunny look a tad shallow, you will always have your memories to reflect back on.

  2. Anonymous

    So powerful and sacrificial over there. It must be very strange to be in the UK and just see lots of eggs and not much else.

  3. Anonymous

    It must feel totally different being here for Easter where it’s very commercialised. I can totally understand how homesick it must make you feel. Thanks for sharing this, so interesting to hear about other cultures and your experiences. I find it really interesting to read your thoughts xx Iona@Redpeffer

  4. Anonymous

    Gosh what a story. I always find it fascinating reading about other cultures and traditions, thank you for sharing. It must be so different to be away from what your used to especially with so many memories. Happy Easter 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    I do miss the “salubong” too, can’t say I miss seeing scenes like the photo above. I’ve heard about doing things after three, but we didn’t really do that as kids. We did the whole station of the cross bit and fasting etc… that’s about it. I guess, we’re not so traditional in that sense then 😉 Like you, I do miss home and my family A LOT too.

  6. Anonymous

    I was raised in a Catholic tradition and am still a practicing catholic. I remember the quiet of good Friday very well. While very religious I have only witnessed these types of traditions here in Italy. They are so powerful. Lent and Easter remain an important time for me especially since my wee man was baptised on Easter Sunday. Many blessings on this Easter holiday. #whatsthestory

  7. Anonymous

    What an interesting post, it must be particularly hard to be so far away at times like this that hold such strong memories. Thank you for sharing x
    Sara (@mumturnedmom)

  8. Anonymous

    I feel we have lost a lot of traditions here and children aren’t taught the true meaning of Easter. Although its nice to have the magic of the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas I really hope I teach my family the true meanings behind our holidays. Thanks for sharing, it’s great to learn how things are celebrated in different parts of the world x

  9. Anonymous

    Wow! Those are some incredible traditions. Not necessarily ones I’d want to be part of, but devoted doesn’t come close. It must be hard to be away from such special and important moments like this, but it’s great that you can remember them and pass them on.

  10. Anonymous

    Wow bet it’s really interesting to watch but looks a bit painful too. Must be a very passionate kind of atmosphere I guess too.

    Notmyyearoff x


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