Today is Easter Day in the Philippines. This entire past week has been Holy Week, which is a major event in the Philippines, much bigger than the actual day of Easter. In order to tell you about Easter in the Philippines, I am republishing this article today. This was originally published in 2010, but the information you will read is just as relevant as it was back then. Happy Easter Everybody. MindanaoBob
I’ve written on LiP a number of times about Holy Week in the Philippines. Still, though, Holy Week has changed quite a bit here since I first moved here, and I also still get e-mails from readers asking about Easter here, or what they should expect here during Easter.
Just yesterday, I got an e-mail from a relatively long time LiP Reader asking about Easter here. She asked me a number of questions that I would like to provide answers for, and I feel sure that there are other readers with similar questions, so I will share it here on the site so that more people can benefit from the information.
First, let me share with you some of my other articles that I have written about Holy Week in the Philippines. Just last year, I had an article about Rapid Changes in the Philippine society in the past decade or so, which included information about Holy Week. In 2008, I wrote an article called “Do you know about Holy Week” which told more about the week before Easter. Check these articles for more information about Holy Week in the Philippines.
In the e-mail that I got yesterday, there were a few questions, and I will address each of them individually.
When does the Philippines celebrate Easter 2011? Is it the same date that is celebrated in the States?
To be honest, I don’t know the date without going and checking. However, it is important to remember that Easter is a religious holiday, the date is set based on the Church. The date that Easter is celebrated here is the same date that any other country celebrates. But, remember, here, the week before Easter (particularly Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Friday (Good Friday) and Saturday (Black Saturday)) are celebrated here. In fact, these days that I listed are much more significant here than Easter Sunday is. In fact, Easter Sunday seems like a pretty normal day here, while Thursday, Friday and Saturday are virtual ghost towns in the Philippine Cities. Most businesses are closed (although not as many as before, a decade ago everything, and I do mean everything was closed).
Can you tell me about the run up to the Easter weekend regarding parades and fiestas?
OK, this is very important. Parades and fiestas are “festive events” where people celebrate and are merry. Holy Week is not a festive occasion. Holy Week is a solemn event, and there are not any parades or fiestas. If you had a big fiesta you would be looked at in a very bad way, because you are expected to be solemn, and be considerate that this is the week that Christ died. It is not festive in any way. When I first moved here, even the Cable TV went off of the air for the entire week! Everything was shut down from Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. When Easter came around, it was, however, back to a fairly normal day.
So, in short, expect a week of solemn reflectiveness, not a week of cheer and merrymaking. In recent years things have begun changing, but still overall, this is what you can expect during Holy Week.
As an example of the change that we are seeing here, today (Maundy Thursday), I took a drive around town to see what things were like. In the past, everything would have been closed. Today, I found the Public Market to be open, and half of the malls were also open in Davao. The other half were closed. Tomorrow, Good Friday, I can’t say for sure what the situation will be. But, even the things I mentioned are major changes compared to years past. In fact, even ATM machines were closed in the past, and all seem to be functioning normally now.
So, this is a bit of a rundown of Holy Week and Easter activities in the Philippines. I hope that you find it informative. Happy Easter to all LiP readers!