Archive for the ‘tradition’ Category

Bizarre Holy Week Tradition: Crucifixion in Pampan

April 8, 2009

About 2,000 years have passed since the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and crucifixion is still being practiced in Pampanga. Supervised by the government, the villages of San Pedro Cutud, Sta. Lucia, and San Juan observe the Lenten tradition with ceremonial flagellations and the nailing of the cross watched by crowds of curious spectators. The reenactment of Jesus’ suffering is preceded by a “pabasa” and way of the cross recalling the Christ’s passion.

The practice of crucifixion might have originated in 1962 when Artemio Anoza, a faith-healer who agreed to be nailed on the cross. From then on, a growing crowd of penitents, about 500-600 “repentant” human beings parade the street, whipping themselves in atonement for their sins.

As a culmination of a Calvary-like imitation of Jesus, the people get to see about 10 to 15 people undergo nailing in Cutud. In addition Sta Lucia, and San Juan have 9 and 5 people respectively are put on the stake to be crucified. More than 70,000 to 80,000 spectators troop to these rituals.

“A man who paints houses and makes streamers for a living, Enaje will be nailed to the cross for the 23rd year. He took to the cross as a thanksgiving after he survived a fall from a three-story building in 1986.”—-Inquirer (04/07/09, Oreias, T)

Village leaders say the crucifixions are acts of repentance and expressions of thanks. For a special favor penitents fulfull their promises of being nailed on the tree on their own volition. Contrary to the allegations of others, people say the flagellants (Mandarame) don’t get crucified for a fee.

The crucifixion isn’t part of the Catholic religious observance that dates back in pagan times. The primitive practice is discouraged by the modern Catholic Church. Yet in Pampanga, it has been a compelling tradition.

A macabre source of tourist curiosity, this bloody observance of Jesus Christ’s death has drawn criticisms from various segments of society. The public complains this Lenten observance is primitively gruesome. Diluting the significance of the Holy Week, the crucifixion has lost it’s solemnity with the crowds. It has become commercialized.

To keep peace and order, about 200 police officers will be deployed on Good Friday. Local government officials regard the crucifixion as a tourist attraction from which part its income comes from. (Photo Credits: Caroline Butler; LA Times/ Mark Boster; Michel Detay x 2; Caroline Butler) =0=

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Christians worldwide marks Palm Sunday

April 6, 2009

There is always grief as the Christian world enters the Holy Week to observe the passion and death of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, April 5, 2009, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem in a donkey — a prelude to the observance of his way to Calvary and the crucifixion, 2,000 years ago.

With branches of olives and palms, Catholics remember the crowd that welcomed Jesus during the Jewish passover. Catholics retraces the path of the cross till His death on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI led the celebration attended by thousands of pilgrims in the Square of St. Peter’s Basilica. In a clear day abundant sun, the pontiff and the people solemnly prayed for the African migrants who where lost at sea crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to a better place in Europe. The day is also offered to the youth who will celebrate the next youth day in Spain. (Photo Credit: KregSteppe; Newsbreaker) =0=

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Groundhog Day and the Feast of Candlemas

February 2, 2009


Just as Pittsburg football fans celebrated the winning of the Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals in Superbowl XLIII, the residents of Punxsutawney, Pennsylavania saw the shadow of groundhog Phil on early Monday morning of February 2, 2009. The sight of the weather predicting furry badger supposedly indicated winter this year would extend to 6 weeks more.

Punxsutawney Phil came out to be seen by about 13,000 onlookers in a ritual of a small town in the county of Jefferson, PA, 84 miles northeast of Pittsburg.

According to German superstition, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says, spring will come early..—-Yahoo.news/ AP (02/02/09)

Holiday of Candlemas

The holiday of Candlemas, a tradition of Christians like the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, is commemorated in honor of the Jesus’ presentation in the temple on February 2. It is the day Simeon beheld Jesus as “the light.” The celebration occurs between the December solstice and the March equinox, about halfway prior to the onset of spring.

According to the gospel, Jesus for the first time was brought to the temple in Jerusalem as Mary completed the traditional 40 days of purification after delivery. Jesus as the “Light of the World,” is honored with the blessing of candles to be used through the year. The temple presentation is revered as the 4th mystery of the Catholic’s holy rosary tradition. (Photo Source & Credit: Presentation in the Temple by Ambrogio Lorenzetti PD) =0=

The Presentation of the Temple

by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1344) Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

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Happy Chinese New Year!

January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

In accordance to the Chinese lunar calendar, on Monday, January 26, 2009, is celebrated as the start of the Year of the Ox. Chinese people all over the world mark the significant day with family gatherings, reunions, parades, fireworks, and food fests as expressions of hope and optimism for prosperity through hard work. The ox is a symbol of strength and prosperity through hard work. (Photo Credits: Ion Buck; Expatriate Games)

UP Ibalon expresses best wishes and good luck for all those who welcome and celebrate the new year!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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Wowowee, Penafrancia fiesta, & the 229 people injured in the Black Nazarene procession of Quiapo

January 9, 2009

The 13-hour religious parade snaked its way in the city drawing thousands of religious believers to walk in supplication until the revered black icon of Jesus was returned in the Quiapo Church on Friday, January 9, 2009 in Manila. I read there were 229 people who were injured during the procession. I couldn’t help recall the days when such spoiler incidents almost never happened.

As a kid who grew up in Naga City, the Traslacion, a similar feast honoring the Virgin of Penafrancia, was memorably peaceful. Lately however, like the Quiapo spectacle, the traslacion and fluvial procession in Bicol had been getting flak. People had not been as reverential and behaved as before. In September 2008, a rumble, a stone-throwing incident, and hostage-taking emergency in a bus dampened the fiesta in Naga.

Rarely were there scuffles and tramplings that put our limbs at risk in the crowd. That was in the past. Had a melee occured, our parents would have disallowed us into coming close to religious gatherings. We would have stayed at home to pay our private homage to God, in lieu of taking part in a dangerous holiday celebration.

But times have changed. The annual feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo has grown so big—almost unmanageable. The faith-based observance have lost part of its sanctity as people of plural intentions join. In spite of the Catholic clergy’s attempt to make the plebeian celebration a simple pious expression of faith, unintended incidents do happen. The open folk tradition of worship and contrition which borders to idolatry (as critics warned) has been marred by melee in a huge crowd with poor control.

People suffering from hypertensive spells and fainting due to excessive heat are getting more common. Difficulty of breathing from asthma has been reported in a number of weary processionistas. Contusions and abrasions caused by pushing and bare-foot walking have brought people rushing to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) reports of at least 23 people suspected to have suffered a heart attack. Surely, these are distractions which can be avoided. We need to act smart to prevent a full-blown mayhem.

Before the next Black Nazarene procession turns into a wholesale failure of crowd control— as hideous as the Wowowee stampede in February 2006, those who organize these events must devise a better plan. The Catholic clergy needs to modify the observance of the tradition. Nearly a thousand police officers and 300 PNRC volunteers are not enough to cope with the needs of the tight crowd.

In Wowowee, at least 74 innocent lives were lost in a recklessly planned TV extravaganza, most of them, trampled, brushed aside, and forgotten without the benefit of justice. (Photo Credits: Nesty Ocampo; Bobmani34; Nesty Ocampo) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Wowowee & the Temple Stampede in Northern India” Posted by mesiamd at 8/04/2008

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UP Lantern Parade 2008

December 22, 2008

On Wednesday, December 17, 2008 the University of the Philippines (UP) staged its Christmas lantern parade to the delight of the students and the entire school. The show of lanterns did not come with the usual multi-sided illuminated stars, the traditional symbols of the light which brought the three wise men to Jesus in the manger. Instead, attractive parols like luminous heavenly bodies in the sky thrilled the crowd.

“This is the best of them all,” says former school president Jose Abueva of the annual holiday event. He explains the significance of the exhibition which marks the end of the school’s colorful centennial year.

The gleaming display materialized from the modern-day artistic imagination of Diliman’s educational hub— better known as the government-funded people’s “national university.” Stunning bright contraptions under the cover of the evening’s shadows ignited the pageantry. In the backdrop of trees and “the oblation” the occasion drew elated on-lookers as the night set in.

Hordes of dolled-up merry-makers wearing garish masks and eclectic gaudy costumes came. They clowned, danced, and laughed to mark another distinctive Filipino Christmas. Fireworks, music, and lights entertained those who attended. (Photo Credit: Lynnzy; Lynnzy; Lynzzy)=0=

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Matuninong na kinaban sa fiesta navidenya

December 8, 2008


Tuninong na Kinaban”

Ang banggui tuninong,
Gabos mayong guirong
Maski an mga bitu’on, sa azul na langit

An malumoy na huyop-huyop may pagka-moot
Sa katuninongan kan kinaban.

Katuninongan nin panahon
Mensaje nin buhay
Biyaya kan Diyos para sa tao

Ang banggui tuninong,
Gabos mayong guirong
Maski an mga bitu’on sa azul na langit.”
F. de Leon, L. San Pedro
(Bicol trans. by mesiamd)

Maogma an aldaw na Deciembre 8, 2008 ta habang kita naghahalat kan pagkamundag ni Jesus, an fiesta kan Immaculada Concepcion satuyang pigce-celebrar. Mas maogma ining pag-guiromdom kan banal na Ina. Pigtutubudan tang pinag-mundag siya na mayong dungis nin kasalan arog kan aki niyang si Jesus.

Ining tukdong ini kan Simbahan Catoliko lalong may kahulugan. Sa satuyang mga buhay kadakul kitang nano’dan. Padagos an pag-sustento kan satuyang pagtubod maski palibot kita nin pag-duda sagkod mga problema.

Ngonian na fiesta navidenya, nahiling ta an karahayan kan kinaban. Pero apektado na kita kan mga problema digdi sa satuyang rogaring. Apektado na kita nin secularismo. Liberalismo. Relatibismo. Lataw na an pagka-commercial kan satuyang celebrasyones. Padagos an pagkawara kan satuyang mga tradisyones religiosos. Nalilipat na kita kan kaogmahan pag Christmas ang pig-oolayan.

Totoong maribong na ang satuyang kinaban. Yaon diyan an iriwal—an pag-suporta sa aborsiyon, terorismo, an korupsiyon. Uya an pagprotesta laban sa pag-guibo nin Belen. An pagsayuma sa sampulong tugon. Pag-negar kan pag-karol, an paghabo sa Christmas tree sa publiko— Gabos ini, maski kaogmahan kan satuyang mga ka-aki’an, jovenes, sagkod gurang.

Da’e ta manigaran si birheng Maria sagkod si Jesus—sinda ang nakatabang sa pagbilog kan satuyang mga ugali. An satong pagka-tao. An pag-tubod ta komo Christiano nag-taong dalan sa pag-buhay-buhay. Nakatabang sa pag-atubang kan mga sentir, kinakatakutan, pig-dudulagan.

Auotpa man lugod na ngonian na mga aldaw, maparani guiraray kita sa pagkamo’ot ni Jesu Kristo, Maria, sagkod ang satong Kagurangnan. Feliz Navidad habang kita naghahalat kan pag-abot kan satuyang paratubos! (Photo Credits: SymonmReynolds; Keith Maguire; Pianoforte)=0=

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The Traditional man-woman marriage

November 10, 2008

Love the family! Defend and promote it as the basic cell of human
society; nurture it as the prime sanctuary of life. Give great care to the
preparation of engaged couples and be close to young married couples, so
that they will be for their children and the whole community an eloquent
testimony of God’s love.”
–Pope John Paul II, 2001


Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society: if we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children and we strengthen the community. If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place as any to start.”—Diane Sollee, Grand Rapids Family Summit, 1998

(Photo Credits: msbernal; msbernal; bloomsdayflowers)

RELATED BLOG:Moral Challenge: angry gays protest ban of same-sex marriage in California” Posted by mesiamd at 11/10/2008

Moral Challenge: angry gays protest ban of same-sex marriage in California

November 9, 2008

During the election in November 4, 2008, Californians were asked to decide on Proposition 8—a move to reverse the law enacted by the state Supreme Court in May 2008 on the validity of same-sex marriage.

Barack Obama fans and liberal democrats had a big surprise when West Coast’s residents rejected gay marriage (approved Proposition 8) in spite of the secular reputation of California, a bastion of democrat-liberals who generally support gay lifestyle. Two thirds of California’s black voters (66%) who voted for Obama didn’t do so for the lesbians and homosexuals. A record of these gays, 18,000 of them, forged matrimonies in the last 5 months before the election.

By the strength of the ballot, gay marriage prohibition won in California, Florida and Arizona. Only Massachusetts and Connecticut now approve same-sex marriages. On the other hand, New Jersey and New Hampshire only permit civil unions with the same legal rights as marriage.

What ensued was a flurry of gay activists’ angry protests who blamed religion, among others as a cause of their defeat. Despite the expressed will of the people, well-organized and vocal homosexual groups numbering up to 10,000 converged in San Diego on November 8, 2008 to protest.

In Salt Lake, Utah, a group of 2,000 staged a rally against the Church of the Latter Day’s Saints (Mormons) and mainstream Christians who forbid gay marital unions. Five thousand (5,000) gay marriage supporters came to a similar mass action in Los Angeles area.

The passing of Proposition 8 in California is a victory for conservatives. For now, the religious right and those who want to uphold traditional family and moral values have an upper hand. But the radical liberals are fighting back to change the rules and impose alternative lifestyle for society. In spite of the understanding, tolerance, and partner benefits given to gay couples, moves to redefine marriage go on.

The increasingly secular world has made people to ponder on what is right and wrong. An alarming fifty (50%) of traditional marriages end up in divorce in the United States. There are those who think the socio-cultural debacle stirred by the same-sex marriage issue, along with questions on abortion, euthanasia, pornography, illegal drugs, and stem-cell research may indicate the fraying of America’s moral values which signals its decline. Respect for the poor, aged, disabled and children are on the wane.

Contrarians however think gay marriage is a boost to advance modernity and sophistication— an expression of liberation from what others perceive as anachronism and religion’s oppressive hold on the people’s imagination. Quo Vadis, America? Where are you going, World? (Photo Credits: specsappeal.net; ncregister; moonbattery.com) =0=