Lent is a Christian tradition that is observed in many denominations. It is the hallowed forty-day period of sacrifice leading up to Jesus’ death and Resurrection. During Lent, Catholics and some Protestants prepare for Holy Week by fasting, praying, and reconciling with the Lord.
The three practices of Lent:
FASTING & ABSTINENCE
The biggest problem we moderns have with fasting and abstinence is one of confusion; that is, we don’t really understand them. The priest gets up and talks about what they mean, and when he’s done, people are more confused than they were when he started.
So, here’s a simplified elucidation of fasting and abstinence: Abstinence lowers the quality of food (usually by not eating meat) and fasting lowers the quantity, and usually means not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal daily each fast day.
For the forty days of Lent, start and end each day with prayer. Read Morning and Evening Prayer and/or Family Prayer. Dust off that old grace you used to say before eating – spend some table time in quiet reflection and prayer instead of chattering and chomping. Pray daily, making sure you indulge in all the qualities of Christian prayer – adoration, thanksgiving, petition, penitence, and invocation.
Do this daily, also, and if you haven’t availed yourself of reading the Daily Office of morning and evening prayer, you are missing out on the opportunity the Church has given you for daily study and reading of Holy Writ. There’s solace, insight, encouragement, grace and a whole lot more in scripture, and that can’t be said about any other book in your library. The Good Book is precisely that, and those who read it daily learn how to be good – godly – themselves.
Holy Week is known as a time for reflection and devotion, but Filipinos have added their own twist to the traditional celebrations of Lent. From crucifixion rites to the Easter egg hunt adopted from Western countries, the Catholic faithful in the Philippines observe practices and traditions in observing Holy Week.
To complete the rites, some devotees willingly allow themselves to be nailed to the cross, reenacting Jesus’ Crucifixion.
Devotees self-flagellate using bamboo whips on their way to the Cutud hilltop.
One Philippine tradition, especially in rural areas, is the observance of silence on Good Friday. People are encouraged to turn off their radios and televisions and limit conversations on the day that marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Through complete silence, it is believed that people will be able to communicate with God through devotional reading and personal prayer.
EASTER EGG HUNT
A fairly new practice that’s starting to become popular in the Philippines, the Easter egg hunt has been adopted from Western countries.
The Easter egg hunt symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The egg is used as a representation of new beginnings, and so it signifies hope.
The egg hunt is usually played out at home or in church activities, but to keep the tradition fun, it is now being played in malls or in activity centers by kids accompanied by adults.