Semana Santa

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Holy Week (Filipino: Semana Santa) in Christianity is a week-long commemoration of Christ's passion and resurrection starting from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday, leading to the much celebrated Easter Sunday.


Holy Week in the Philippines

Filipinos are known for their solemn observance of Holy Week. It is their way of renewing their relationship with God and is commonly regarded as the season of repentance and mending of immoral living.

  • Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. It commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Filipino Catholics bring their palaspas or decorated palm fronds to church to be blessed by the priest.
  • The first three days of Holy Week (Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday) prepare us for the passion of Christ. The church services follow very closely the gospel themes preceding the passion, including the days spent by Jesus and his apostles in the city and Judas's preparation to betray Jesus.
  • Maundy Thursday is the day when the washing of the feet is celebrated. Catholics consider Christ's washing of his apostles's feet as the most striking example of his humility.
  • On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes their gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
  • Holy Saturday (in Latin, Sabbatum Sanctum) is the 'day of the entombed Christ,' is the Lord's day of rest, for on that day Christ's body lay in his tomb. It is the day for the preparation for the night vigil of Easter.
  • The Easter Vigil signifies Christ's passage from the dead to the living by the the liturgy which begins in darkness (sin, death) and is enlightened by the fire and the candle representing the light of Christ as the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the community of believers, is led from spiritual darkness to the light of his truth. The Easter Vigil includes a blessing of water. Water blessed during the Easter Vigil is used for baptisms and other blessings. The paschal candle represents Christ, as the light of the world. It is lighted each day during Mass throughout the paschal season until Ascension Thursday.
  • Easter Sunday is the day when Christ's resurrection is celebrated.



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