Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 14, 2003
Filipinos use poetry to observe Lent
By WINNIE de CASTRO
Special to the WCR
In the Christian Church, Lent is a period of penitential preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday, six and one-half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast reliving Jesus Christ's fasting in the wilderness.
The Philippines is a Christian country and the people celebrate Christian values and traditions, such as Christmas, Lent and Easter. Filipinos consider Lent to be important and sacred in the exercise of their religious beliefs.
Traditionally, Lent is celebrated with intense prayer, reflection, meditation, and renewal of Christian practices and almsgiving to the needy. It can also be observed with other devotional activities that include the Stations of the Cross, benediction, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and saying the rosary.
One way Filipino Christians commemorate Lent is holding the Pabasa ng Pasiong Mahal. In the vernacular language, Tagalog, pabasa means to let prose or poetry be read. Pasiong Mahal means sacred passion referring to the passion of Christ.
In Lent, a book about Jesus Christ written in Tagalog is read in a rhyming fashion. The book starts with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin, continues to the reading of creation (Genesis) and ends with a message to all Christians regarding repentance and salvation of the world. The focus, however, is the life of Jesus Christ with emphasis on his sufferings, death and resurrection.
The (Pabasa) tunes or chants are different depending on the reader's regional birthplace and/or background.
The reading of the book for Pabasa varies from region to region and province to province in the Philippines. The participants in a Pabasa do not read, but sing the words. The tunes or chants are different depending on the reader's regional birthplace and/or background.
This tradition of the Pabasa was carried over by Filipinos abroad.
It is a well-cherished Christian rite commemorated since the Philippines was Christianized by the Spaniards in 1521.
The members, family and friends of the Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta (PBAA) are no different. They have celebrated the Pabasa every Holy Thursday and Good Friday for many years.
This year, the PBAA is inviting every Filipino to join its annual PABASA on April 17 and 18, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, at Inglewood Community Hall at 12515-116 Ave., starting at 10 a.m. Thursday.
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