Does Holy Week still matter to Filipinos?

Photo by JL JAVIER

By Nicole Soriano/nnphilippines.com – Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — On the surface, the Christian faith appears ingrained in the lives of many Filipinos, with over 80 percent of the Philippine population identifying as Catholic. Every Sunday, families gather together and pack their local parishes; priests preach with conviction to a committed flock; and choirs sing with devotion within churches adorned with images of angels, saints, and a crucified God.

Commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Holy Week in the Philippines naturally comes with rituals and observances practiced by millions of devotees. Visiting several churches on Maundy Thursday, performing the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, attending a solemn vigil on the night of Black Saturday: these are typical traditions that allow the faithful to reflect, repent, and remember the meaning of the sacrifice made by the God they worship every Sunday.

But with most Filipinos born into the faith, one might wonder whether Holy Week is still truly sacred to those that call themselves Catholic. How do Filipinos really feel about a week filled with religious rituals that have been around all their lives? Do they indeed deepen the faith of the people, or are they met with indifference? Why do some people refuse to participate in these ceremonies and leave the faith they inherited altogether — risking the disapproval of their families and communities?

Engaging these questions, we asked a mix of believers and non-believers to share their thoughts on the meaning of Holy Week and the pervasiveness of religion in the Philippines.

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