Lenten Season and Easter

Easter is almost here. Having grown up in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines, I’m very aware of the significance of Easter holiday for Christians: the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, however, it is more associated with the Easter Bunny and chocolates (in the form of eggs mostly) which is a bit sad (but I’m sure the kids are quite happy).

Darrell Lea Fine Chocolates and their Chokkie Easter Eggs Galore

Now, let me point out the differences between how Lent is observed here and in the Philippines according to my experiences.

Here, they have Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) where they celebrate by serving out pancakes. I’m not sure if we actually practice a form of Shrove Tuesday back home but if we do then I stand corrected. Anyway, at this time, the bread they call the traditional hot cross bun begins to be sold in bakeries.

Unlike at home, Ash Wednesday doesn’t seem to be a very big deal here. Back home, a person is expected to have an ashen cross sign on one’s forehead by noon time, assuming that person is a Catholic, of course. Here, Ash Wednesday could pass you by like any other day. Ever since coming here, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend an Ash Wednesday mass. I should make up for this next year.

Back home, during the Lenten season, fastfood joints offer special non-meat products like Jollibee’s Chunky Tuna Sandwich or Wendy’s Shrimp Burger (as far as I recall). Here, there are no Lenten Season specials. But then again, there isn’t exactly a Jollibee or Wendy’s here either.

Here, instead of having the public holidays over Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, they have it on Good Friday and Easter Monday. That’s right. Friday and Monday off. Easter Sunday is still Easter Sunday but the day after is called Easter Monday.

There are no nightly pasyon vigils, no bisita iglesia (though I can probably do this if I really want to) and no stations/way of the cross conducted on the streets. Although as a child I found these religious observances boring, I now find that I actually miss participating in these customs.

Well, that’s how it is living away from home and I’ll just have to get used to the differences.

Published in: on March 19, 2005 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment