Holy Week is just around the corner. It’s that time of the year when Filipinos recall and relive the last few hours of Jesus’ life before He was nailed to the cross. It’s also considered the most solemn of all Catholic celebrations. Some of the most common traditions are the Visita Iglesia (usually done on Maundy Thursday), the Stations of the Cross, the Washing of the Feet, and the Salubong (to welcome Easter Sunday).
Aside from all these Holy Week practices, however, Filipinos have also become quite used to several superstitious beliefs. Most of these were taught to us by our elders, specifically our grandparents. Despite all the modern technology surrounding us, and despite the fact that some of them sound a bit absurd or funny, many of us still believe in them.
Here are some of the Holy Week superstitions that have been passed on from generation to generation.
- The palm leaves or palaspas you used on Palm Sunday (already blessed by the priest) should be placed on your doors and windows to drive away evil and bad luck. These palm leaves should remain there for the rest of the year. In addition, when mixed with coconut oil, the palaspas can be used to treat rashes, headaches, and stomachaches.
- Grandparents also remind their apos (grandchildren) that wounds inflicted during the Holy Week, especially on Good Friday and Black Saturday, will take a longer time to heal. This is one of the reasons why parents do not allow their children to go out and play for the duration of the Holy Week.
- Taking a bath after 3pm (the time of Jesus’ death) on Good Friday is not recommended because it will bring bad luck. In the bathroom, at the beach….anywhere. Some people even say that it’s also not advisable to do the laundry on Good Friday.
- Some old folks say that traveling during the Holy Week is also a big no-no. According to them, a lot of accidents happen the whole week and most especially on Good Friday, when evil spirits are all around.
- Good Friday and Black Saturday are also not ideal days for looking at the mirror, or anything that has your reflection on it. They say that evil spirits come out at 3pm on Good Friday and stays around until Easter Sunday breaks in. Mirrors are considered entry points for spirits of every kind, so if you look into one on Good Friday or Black Saturday, you’ll bring all the bad spirits out of their hiding places.
- If you have an anting-anting or amulet and/or charms, bring them out on Good Friday as, according to some old folks, they will become more empowered.
- In the morning of Black Saturday, children should jump high before the church bells ring. This, they say, will make the children grow taller. And then at night, parents wake the children up to eat meat, as this will help prevent the kids from going deaf.
- According to the old folks, if it rains on Easter Sunday, that rain water becomes holy and will have healing powers.
There are many other Holy Week superstitious beliefs but these are the most popular ones. It is important to remember though that these are just superstitions and therefore, no one is forced to believe or follow them.
What you should keep in mind is the real reason why we commemorate the Holy Week (or the Lenten season). This is the best time to do some self-reflection and remember how Jesus offered His life for our freedom.
Keep in mind that these are just superstitions. Your faith in Him is what matters most.
Have a meaningful Holy Week, everyone!
Also used as source an article I wrote for clix.com.ph some years ago: http://www.clix.com.ph/superstitious-beliefs-for-the-holy-week/