Lent prepares the Christian for the yearly commemoration of Christ's Death and Resurrection. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and culminating on Easter, Lent or Cuaresma, is a 40-day period in the liturgical year leading up to Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The 40 days represent the time that Jesus spent alone in the desert fighting the temptation of the devil before he begins his public ministry. During lent, the events relating to the martyrdom of Jesus Christ ultimately dying on the cross are commemorated through forms of repentance especially during Holy Week (Semana Santa in Spanish and Mahal na Araw in Tagalog).
Throughout the Mahal na Araw, Filipinos offer prayers, and sacrifices in observance of this religious tradition. As a way of making amends for their sins, some Filipinos consider walking on the streets barefoot, shirtless, covering their faces with dark cloths while scourging themselves at the back or letting someone do it for them. Some go to the extremes and let themselves be nailed to the wooden cross ( like what Jesus did) using 2-inch stainless steel nails and do it as a sign of penitence. These crucifixions are done in some parts of the country but more popularly in the town of San Pedro, Pampanga, north of Manila and has drawn crowds from all over the world.
While these strong exhibition of devotion to the Passion of Christ remain as an irrevocable tradition in the Philippines, most Filipinos still prefer observing Lent through prayers, alms giving, fasting, and abstinence from meat.
Fasting or the pag-aayuno is also the most common practice observed even by the Filipinos living abroad. When fasting, a person refrains from eating meat during Lent, eating mostly fish and vegetables--or even nothing at all, reminding him or her to reject the worldly cares of life and follow the selfishness example of God through his son Jesus Christ.
This Lenten Season, Isla Kulinarya will share with you delicious meatless recipes that you can include in your fasting diet. Don't miss it!
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