What Is Maundy Thursday in the Philippines All About?
Maundy Thursday is a day in the holy week where believers commemorate Jesus’s washing of the apostle’s feet and the last supper. Christians from all around the globe consider this holy day as the day before Christ was crucified on the cross. On this day, believers would go to church, witness the reenactment of Jesus and his apostles, and listen to the gospel. Maundy Thursday is one of the most anticipated and celebrated holidays in the Philippines.
“Maundy” means the ceremony of washing the feet of the poor, and it depicts the moment when Jesus washed the feet of his twelve disciples before sharing their final meal. As such, this day serves as a reminder of humility and the mission of service. Additionally, the washing of the feet also symbolizes the promise of the cleansing of human sin. With this act, Jesus commands his followers to show forgiveness to all.
How to Celebrate Maundy Thursday in the Philippines and Things to Do
Maundy Thursday celebration in the Philippines is a very solemn event. Even upon the start of the holy week- the palm Sunday, Christians already start to fast and refrain from participating in any very jubilant activities. As Maundy Thursday is the day leading to the passion and death of Jesus, believers usually celebrate the day by being repentant and somber. On this day and the rest of the holy week, people refrain from partying, drinking, and doing raucous activities.
During the week, people refrain from eating meat, except fish. Filipinos also refrain from going on a fun vacation on beaches and other destinations until Easter Sunday, as disrespectful. Karaoke, social gatherings, and hearty meals are avoided to embody the value of the day.
Television and radio networks usually do not play entertainment segments and shows during Maundy Thursday. This forces people to detach from their usual activities to reflect and pray. However, bible stories and moral dramas are played, so people learn and remember Jesus’s life and teachings. Every family and locality has different practices, but going to mass on this day would be common.
How Maundy Thursday in the Philippines Is Celebrated
Maundy Thursday is a non-working holiday in the Philippines. So during this time, people usually take rest, enjoy the time with their family, or visit churches. The church usually holds a morning Chrism Mass where the clergy renew their priestly vows, and the oil for the sick is consecrated.
In the evening, the church holds another mass, importantly known as the Mass of the Last Supper. In this mass, the church reenacts Jesus’s washing of the apostles’ feet, with the priest washing the feet of selected twelve parishioners. The evening mass ends with the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Afterward, the parishioners may remain for a confession and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Visita Iglesia is another common Filipino practice during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Simply, it is the tradition, and for some people a vow, to visit seven churches to offer personal meditation or prayers. Some devotees walk barefoot from church to church and even carry a cross similar to Jesus’s passion. Many believe that completing this vow would grant you your wishes and prayers.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Maundy Thursday in the Philippines
Visit the Simala Church in Cebu
The Simala Church exhibits a castle-like structure and is one of the unique churches in the Philippines. People from all over the country visit the church to practice their traditions at the heart of Cebu Province.
Visit the Quiapo Church in Manila
If you’re staying in Manila, the Quiapo Church is the best place to visit during the Holy Week. It is home to the famous Black Nazarene and a venue for many religious events, especially during Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
Visit the San Pedro Cathedral in Davao
If you’re in Mindanao, the San Pedro Cathedral is an ideal place to celebrate Maundy Thursday. It is the oldest church in the city and is considered a national cultural treasure, with many devotees who practice the celebration of the Holy Week.
Visit San Fernando, Pampanga
Pampanga is a famous place to be during the holy week, as they annually reenact the Via Cruis (Way of the Cross). During this event, devotees imitate the flagellation and the crucifixion of Christ.
The Philippines is a country full of rich cultures, traditions, and practices. As one of the most anticipated Filipino holidays, Maundy Thursday is much celebrated and respected. With just a day or week, you can experience the Filipino devotion and traditions that make the Philippines worth living in.