Black Saturday

Holy Saturday is called Black Saturday or Sábado de Gloria in the Philippines. Most of the city are literally dead, and business is usually not transacted during this day. It’s even hard to catch a cab during these days. But, there are a lot of things to do in terms of religious activities.

Rite of Passage

On this day as well, a lot of boys are cringing with fear, because this is the day that they usually are set for the passage into manhood, because this is the day for most circumcisions, and the traditional circumcision is a bit funny actually. Well, not if you’re the one who’s going to be getting it.

Usually, the traditional circumcision will be held at the beach so that after the cut, the boy will head for the sea and jump in. The circumcision is done in an area that has enough cover so that onlookers won’t be able to see.

Blessing of Fire and Water

s far as I know, Holy Saturday ends at dusk, and the celebration of Easter begins on Saturday Night. It certainly paves way for one of my favorite ceremonies during The Philippine Holy Week, and that is The Blessing of Fire and Water. I’ve personally participated during this ceremony once when I was younger, and I can attest to the fact that it is indeed a very spiritual experience.

As you may know, after 3pm of Holy Friday up to the point of The Blessing of Fire and Water, the Altar is draped in usually black cloth, and no church activity, including mass, will be observed, and everything is covered or hidden to observe the death of Jesus Christ.

But at the blessing of Fire and Water, usually starting at 8 pm ending at 10 pm, people will bring candles and bottles of water for the ceremony, and the water is blessed, and then a single candle is lit and passed on from individual to individual. The church is at its most beautiful as the entire congregation is seen in the backdrop of all these lit up candles.

When I participated, the culmination was so beautiful, because I attended the ceremony at Cebu Cathedral, the main Church in a region known as The Visayas in The Philippines. Before the culmination, you have to realize that the church has been in darkness, and the lights have been turned off since Friday at 3 pm.

There comes a point near the end of the ceremony when all the lights suddenly turn on, and in sync the choir sings Alleluia Alleluia. Thus the celebration of Easter is truly begun.

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