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Money Matters

The Filipino Holy Week, and what it means for our economy

Filipinos look forward to the Holy Week as it’s the perfect time to reflect and pray to God. The rich traditions that Catholic Filipinos observe during this time is a fitting culmination of the Lenten Season.

This time of the year is extremely important for the devout. All these traditions, starting with Palm Sunday, to the Pabasa, the Senakulo, and the Visita Iglesia, have been valued and practiced by Filipinos for generations. There is, however, one other secular tradition that goes hand in hand with the celebration of Holy Week.

Holy Week as the Ultimate Holiday

Aside from being a significant part of Christian life, many see the Holy Week as an opportunity to go on vacation. After waving the palaspas in order to welcome Christ, we wave selfie sticks to capture that perfect shot. Visita Iglesia is a huge roadtrip – we go from province to province, taking in the sights as well as meditating on the Stations of the Cross.

Some even go the completely secular route, and forgo the usual Catholic traditions that accompany this time. Instead of the ritual of the washing of the feet, some opt to just go straight to the beach and just enjoy the sun and the time off.

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The Church has consistently reminded worshipers that the significance of the Holy Week goes beyond taking a break from work. However, many middle-class and upper-class Filipinos still take this holiday as a special time to spend with their loved ones.

It is completely understandable – it’s not all the time that we can have two non-working holidays followed by an entire weekend. No wonder many Filipinos take advantage of this time of year to be with family and friends.

Great time for Philippine Tourism

Aside from the Churches, the beaches and other attractions all over the country are equally as crowded during Holy Week. It’s definitely a great time for Philippine tourism. Hotels and resorts all over the country work double time to cater to the hordes of visitors.

People go out and explore what the country has to offer. Bus stations across Metro Manila are typically filled with commuters, as numerous Filipinos seek to go home to their provinces. But some are just looking for a bus to take them on an adventure they would never forget.

The Holy Week is an amazing time for the local economy. When people travel and explore, they spend – businesses know this, and they do their best to capitalize on this tourism boom. A lot of money is spent on these holy days. It’s interesting that Filipinos really make the most of this huge break, inflation be damned.

The Secular and the Spiritual Merged

Holy Week is an interesting phenomenon in the Philippines, in that the secular pursuit of going on a vacation completely coincides with the spiritual rituals of remembering the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ.

Yes, it’s about remembering the traditions and honoring the sanctity of this holy period, but it’s also about Filipinos coming together.

Filipinos may at times struggle with economic burdens like taxes, but we always find a way to enjoy the simple luxuries of spending time off of work, and with our loved ones.

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