Lent in the Philippines: A Simple AlternativeBianca
What is Lent?
Lent is a season of recommitting our lives to God. It is a time to switch off the distractions, bad habits, and sins that we’ve done throughout the year and move closer to God. Catholics view Lent as a time for solace and discernment. With the Philippines being predominantly Catholic, all Filipinos know that Lent would not be complete without penitential traditions.
Lent in the Philippines
Lent is a forty-day season of preparation for Easter. It always begins on a Wednesday and this year fell on the 26th of February. On this day, priests smudge a cross made of ash on the foreheads of Catholic Filipinos. Local churches and chapels burn the dried palm leaves used from the previous year’s Palm Sunday and they are what turn into the ash used, hence the term Ash Wednesday.
Ash symbolizes sorrow for sins and is a reminder of inevitable death as humans. It’s a sign that life is brief so we should regress from sin and follow the teachings of the Gospel. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week and culminates on a holiday called Easter or Linggo ng Pagkabuhay in Filipino.
At present, it gets harder for Filipinos to perform traditional Lenten practices such as penitensya or penance. This practice is a literal re-enactment of the flogging and crucifixion of Jesus Christ before his death. Most Filipinos nowadays choose to enjoy Holy Week by bonding with their families and vacationing at the beach or abroad. This is why simple Lenten sacrifices are now the perfect alternative.
Simple Lenten Sacrifices
Lenten sacrifices have become a common practice during Lent as they mimic how Jesus Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days straight despite temptation by the devil. People give up an item or common practice (ex. eating meat, etc.) for forty days until Easter Sunday comes around. To celebrate Jesus’ ascension, they can indulge in what they gave up once again. No matter how simple, whatever you choose to give up this year will definitely be life-changing in its own way.
Need ideas on what to give up for Lent? Here are some suggestions:
Give up your favorite Milk Tea
Nowadays, milk tea is as popular as it is addictive. It has become quite a difficult habit to quit for most people because the more you drink it the more you think you ‘need’ it.
Give up your Social Media Account
Giving up social media is one of the most effective ways to reconnect with God this season. It will motivate you to try new activities instead of just scrolling through your phone screen all day. Take time off and have a spiritual cleanse.
Give up Overworking
Sure, there are certain tasks that you can’t take out of your to-do list. You shouldn’t over-commit, though. Lent is a good time to re-analyze your priorities to leave some time for yourself.
Give up Negativity
Take these 40 days to re-evaluate your general outlook. Have you let your anger get the best of you? It’s time to let go of all the resentment now. Find your inner zen and learn to properly manage your emotions.
Give up Binge Watching
Nothing feels better than getting to sit back after work (or on a weekend) and binge-watching your favorite K-drama shows or Hollywood action movies. This is why giving this up may help you shift your focus onto something new and more productive.
Give up Impulsive Spending
Each time you’re tempted to buy something that isn’t really a need, say no. Set aside the money you would have spent. You might be able to purchase something better with all the money you’ve saved once the 40 days are over.
Now, have these helped you decide on what to sacrifice for Lent?
As we enter this season, Atome encourages you to allow it to be a reminder that we are all a work in progress — an ongoing piece. With God’s grace, we continue to find purpose. These Lenten practices become a place for God’s presence to be felt in our lives. With these, we continue to be transformed and redeemed.
So, what are you wrestling with? Whatever uncertainties, anxieties, worries, or regrets keep you up at night, try your best to shift your focus.
Atome wishes you a meaningful Lenten season.
- Deibe, I. (2020, February 26). Lent 2020 ideas: What to give up for Lent this year – top ten ideas. Retrieved March 2, 2020, from https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/1246675/Lent-2020-best-ideas-top-ten-things-give-up-Lent-alcohol-meat-plastic
- FilipinoPod101.com. (n.d.). Lent and Holy Week. Retrieved March 2, 2020, from https://www.filipinopod101.com/lesson/culture-class-holidays-in-the-philippines-21-lent-and-holy-week/