Or you could ask, what is the meaning of Holy Week for you, or how to have a meaningful Holy Week? It actually depends on one’s personal perspective on Holy Week. The holiness of the week really starts on Maundy or Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday. That’s only four days that are considered as legal and religious regular holidays on any Philippine calendar.
For some, it means vacation time, stress release time, and so it’s off to whatever resort or tourist destination is available or trending or is within your budget. There’s nothing wrong with this, no matter what your religion is. For some, it means going to what is termed as “Pamalandong” or “Pana-ad” places like Camiguin, Malasag, or El Salvador not so much to follow the Stations of the Cross but basically because that’s where the majority of people go to relax or have fun. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this.
For some, it means really following the Stations of the Cross regardless of where it’s located, maybe watching a “Pasyon” or Passion of Christ procession, and generally feeling the “holiness” atmosphere of the holidays. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. For some, it means just staying home and avoiding everything about the so-called holidays. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. What is wrong is when you get so drunk that you make a spectacle of yourself in public. Or if you’re a politician and take advantage of the large crowds to secretly campaign for yourself. Or if you decide to attend processions by cross-dressing and making a fool of yourself.
So, how do you find the true essence of Holy Week? Regardless of religion, or even if you’re an atheist, Holy Week, or any religious holiday for that matter, should be a time for inner reflection, an opportunity to examine our own lives to see how well we are living and how this affects other people. Holy Week should be a time to reflect on what to unpack from our mental burdens, on how far our sacrifices have carried our lives, and how much good we have done for others or if we have been a burden to others.
Perhaps this is the week we need to really dig deep into ourselves and reflect where we are going with our life. Am I earning an honest living or do I just spend my time drinking at the corner Sari-Sari store while being a stay-at-home husband because, anyway, my wife is earning well by working in Saudi Arabia as a maid? Have I unloaded my mental burdens or do I still want to kill my ex-boyfriend for marrying my best friend? Am I sacrificing too much to earn more money while I spend less and less time with my children? Am I running as a politician to genuinely serve my constituents or do I just want to enrich myself?
Remember that reflection can be a paradox because it’s more than just what is black and white in your life. There may be some things in our lives that seem white but are actually gray. However, in the end, finding true essence in any religious holiday should be a reflection of how good you live your life and what good you do towards other people. In the end, you attempt to make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, and sexual preference.