Holy Week False Practices in the Philippines

Religion has Twisted the Holy Week

Holy Week is a time where the whole Christian world commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a good and  vital week of remembrance because it this is the very milestone in history that ushered God’s redemption. We all can confidently trust to live in the life God has for us because Jesus died for our behalf, ransomed us from hell and His resurrection power breathes hope and freedom.

Religion has however twisted this occasion and manipulated people to focus on rituals and traditions rather than celebrating salvation and the life in Christ itself. Missing out the very essence of the Holy Week.

Here are some…

Holy Week False Practices

According to Philippine Star, these are the common Philippine traditional practices.

1. Fasting

Fasting is a simple reminder of what it means to suffer and to understand the sacrifice Jesus did for humanity. As a form of penitence, many people fast or voluntarily give up certain types of luxuries during the Lent season. The most common form of fasting during Lent is fasting from food.

2. Participating in Pabasa

For those who grew up in provinces, Pabasa might be familiar. This is a ritual where your lolos and lolas chant the texts in the book of the passion of Christ in many different ways. For the young ones who have participated in the pabasa this year, and have endured the whole session, you should give credit to yourself.

3. Visita Iglesia

One of the most important traditions during Holy Week is the Visita Iglesia, a practice in which the faithful visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday leading to the Good Friday to commemorate Christ’s passion and to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

4. Procession

Processions are usually held on Good Friday, including The Way of the Cross. People led by the priest walk from station to station contemplating the Passion of Christ. There are a total of 14 stations.

5. Senakulo

“Senakulo” is some sort of a play about the last days of Christ. They are often organized  by and participated in by locals.

6. Moriones Festival

Moriones refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the towns in Marinduque for seven days searching for Longinus. They roam around the streets from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday as a tradition.7. Cutud Crucifixions

Yearly activities in San Pedro, Pampanga during Holy Week include crucifixions. Participants in the local crucifixions usually play Biblical characters in full costume. They would reenact events during the Siete Palabras. This is done during Good Friday.

8. Flagellants

Flagellants in Pampanga during Holy Week are called “Magdarame.” These practitioners do an extreme form of mortification of their own flesh by whipping it with various instruments. Flagellants roam the streets on Good Friday while either carrying wooden crosses or whipping their backs with bamboo lashes called “burilyos.”

9. Night Vigil

Black Saturday is when Christ is entombed. Filipinos spend the day preparing for the night vigil leading up to Easter Sunday.

10. Salubong
Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. At four o’clock in the morning, Filipinos do a salubong ceremony commemorating how the Virgin Mary met her risen son Jesus.

Clean Hearts NOT Good Works

Why do I personally consider these rituals and traditions false practices? Because most of these are done are part of people’s good works to feel good about themselves. But is actually playing god. They get to be in control… Because they have done this and than, God can forgive them and should bless them now.


Hebrews 10:4-6 says nothing can satisfy God’s wrath for our sins, not even the sacrifices of animal blood. JESUS HAS DONE IT ONCE AND FOR ALL. He alone is the way. Not anyone’s good works will count.

Psalm 24:3-5

Who may ascend into the hill of the LordOr who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heartWho has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LordAnd righteousness from the God of his salvation.

These traditions also has no Biblical basis. We can’t find any verse in the Bible telling us to do these things. They are all man-made and totally wrong!

Our goal should be having a pure and clean heart before Jesus Himself.

What Should be Done Then?

  • Pray directly to Jesus
  • Repent of your sins
  • Live righteous before God
  • Love God and your neighbors
  • Read and medicate the Bible, live it out
  • Grow in a community of God’s people who also love the truth and His presence
  • Disciple others

So this Holy Week, don’t waste your time, money and energy of false practices that may mean nothing as all. Take this time instead to get yourself right with God. Focus on Jesus, cultivate your love relationship with Him.


Published by Julmar Grace Locsin

Grace hails from her favorite city in the world, Davao City! She is a mom of twins, Sovi and Tice and is happily married to business owner and musician, Jay Locsin. She considers herself an "eye" who loves to say out of what she sees. Her articles focus on family, parenting, marriage, and motherhood as part of the Christian life. She is also a big believer of the Filipino call and destiny and writes a lot about revival in the Philippines. Her work have been featured in a lot of online publications, national tabloids and radio shows like the Philippines Star, GMA News (Mindanao) and DzBB. She is currently helping her husband with their business teaching other families how to earn from home as she manages homeschooling, writing, and finishing her doctorate. Follow Grace's journey as she inspires, make an impact, and transform nations for heaven, for the King!

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