The reason for the season

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, April 12, 2014


SCHOOL is out and since I have chosen to take some time off from my grad school classes this summer, I have been finding my evenings quite uh, tame. The initial realization (actually, shock) that I actually had time not in the evening left me at a loss and in utter amazement. It has been a year since I had enrolled in my Clinical Psychology Masters that somehow, it has eased into my system quite well.

I am quite happy being an eternal student, really. I like walking through the school pathways, hanging out amid the books in the University library. I like the hustle, bustle, stress, and panic of school requirements, too! You find that weird? I find it to be a breath of fresh air in my life! It makes me happy, period. Call me a nerd, but I love school. Haha. But just like any other student, I do get burned out too. Time has indeed flown by fast, not realizing that I have been at it for three semesters.

And so it is summer!! And I am finding it quite weird that I will not be in the summer classrooms! The end of March marked the beginning of my summer vacation. It just seemed apt to actually end it by attending the college graduation. It just reminded me how I much I loved school and all the experiences that came with it! But don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my summer now, even without school. It is a welcomed change in pace, really. For one thing, I am able to indulge in another one of my loves, painting.

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For us adults, summer vacations have ceased to be THE summer holidays that we used to know as kids. But that’s okay. Adults can live their childhood summers through the younger generations, or steal moments of the summer to relive their memorable past summers right?

I am reminded, every summer, of my younger days spent in Paniqui, Tarlac. Most of my younger Holy Week observances were spent there; during the time when nights were spent in candlelight because electricity was only available during the day. Many horror stories have caused me, my siblings and cousins sleepless nights just listening to the sounds of the night--the whistling of the leaves as the wind blew, cats caterwauling and dogs howling. Hmmm. I remember shuddering under the sheets as I see shadows flickering while the wooden boards of the floors creaked whenever a relative made their way up the staircase to check on us, the kids, if we were already sound asleep. I have always found it eerie to hear the old women’s voices reciting the Pabasa downstairs. It was even more traumatic for me to actually see them in action...wearing black veils and kneeling on the living room floor...their eerie, monotonous chanting reminding me of tales from the crypt.

I also remember watching men doing penance by self-flagellation. It was a common site in the streets of Abogado then and I can really say that though the years, spending mostly of our Holy Week there, that I have managed to take a pretty good look at these men at very close range. I can still envision how pieces of broken glass repeatedly pierced their backs until it bled. And how it must have felt worse than it already was because most of them were walking barefoot in the sweltering heat of the summer sun. It was not easy, I figured, but I could not see any regret on their faces that they had subjected themselves to such kind of pain. I guess, they had to do what they needed to do, and they did it wholeheartedly.

Now that I am (much) older, I reminisce about all these Holy Week experiences and feel that sense of privilege that I had a chance to witness it. These observances have become less and less visible nowadays and in places where they still happen, they have become more of a traveler’s spectacle rather than a religious observance. It does make me a bit sad that there are less opportunities for the present generation to actually see these things, not only due to its growing rarity but also because they don’t really care. After all, as much as it is a part of of our traditional Catholic life, it is also an integral feature of our Filipino culture.

Still, I have no qualms about the choices each individual makes about how they want to spend their Holy Week. For most adults like me, it is really one of those rare times when you can really spend time to relax and chill, either on your own, or with your loved ones.We all have our own ways of celebrating the summer season and observing the Holy Week. Regardless if we spend it doing the usual Bisita Iglesia and other Catholic activities or by going out of town exploring new places and frolicking in the beaches, what is important is that we allot some quiet moments reflecting on what the Holy Week means and appreciating the sacrifice that the Lord has made for all of us. After all, He is the reason for this season. :)

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 13, 2014.

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