IT'S Maundy Thursday, the first day of the Easter Tridium. This is the period that begins with the liturgy later this evening and ends with the Great Vigil of Easter on Black Saturday. It is all about the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Today, during the Gloria in Excelsis Deo in the Mass of the Lord's Supper, church bells will be rung and music played, after which this will be silenced until the Gloria is again sang in the Easter Vigil. It is also today when the ritual of the washing of the feet will be held after the priest's homily.
Originally, it is also on this day when the Visita Iglesia is practiced, but in recent times, the Visita Iglesia is being done in the morning of Good Friday. This is the very reason for some confusion. There's nothing wrong, either day. The important facet in this practice is the act of visiting churches during Holy Week, as such, there is also no set of prayers that are exclusively for this devotion. Some pray the rosary, others in front of the Blessed Sacrament to say their prayers, others on the Stations of the Cross.
Seven churches is for the seven last words. The variation of visiting 14 churches is for the 14 Stations of the Cross. In places where there are many churches, the choice is visiting 14. Those where churches are few and far between, visiting 7 is more practical.
All these are done with the Pabasa ng Pasyon in the background. But, Davao being a melting pot of people and cultures, pasyon has not been a major part of its traditions and the 24-hour chanting is practiced only by a few, specifically in areas where Luzon migrants proliferate.
Even the Senakulo or the street plays on the life and Passion of Jesus Christ is not a familiar scene, there is but the Salubong or the Welcoming of the Risen Christ before dawn of Easter Sunday.
All these traditions and absence of some in Davao City reflects the devotion of the Catholics and the multifaceted culture of the Dabawenyos where the traditions, like the "Davao Conyo" becomes a merry mix of many different things. In Davao Conyo, it's all about being comfortable and being understood no matter. In the Holy Week traditions, what matters is the prayer and the recollection of the life of Jesus, the Christ.
One thing is sure though, whether there be seven or 14 churches visited on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday or there be young ones putting in a beat into the chanting of the Pasyon, families will be trooping to the beach on Easter Sunday because that is one tradition Dabawenyos and its proximity to beaches have embraced.
How does the going to the beach fit into the scheme of things on Holy Week? The oldies say it is to wash the sins and start anew. That Holy Week happens during the hot summer, going to the beach is indeed a welcome way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.