Back in my childhood me and my siblings had to observe silence at home. This was one of the hard rules we had to follow during Holy Week.
I remember how my mother ordered us – all eight children in the family – not to make noise on Good Friday.
And yet we were to start our silent retreat at home not on Good Friday but beginning Holy Thursday up to (Black) Saturday night.
We were not allowed to sing, strum the guitar or play the piano.
Especially on Good Friday.
We were forbidden to talk aloud nor make sounds on our feet when walking around the house.
We cannot even play our favorite games of tagu-taguan (hide and seek), piko piko (hopscotch) or tumba lata (flip down the can).
Likewise, we were forbidden to wear red on Good Friday, the day that Jesus died.
And we were not allowed to take a bath on Good Friday.
But — I would always manage to evade my mother’s watchful eyes and sneak into the bathroom so as not to miss a day’s shower.
Yes, even if it was a Good Friday.
My mother always bid everyone to be extra careful on Good Friday.
Strictly no unnecessary work at home on this day. It would be too dangerous because Jesus is dead and so the devil is near and would cause us harm.
My mother said if we get wounded on Good Friday it would either not heal or if it would heal it would take very long time to happen.
But there was one person at home who didn’t care about those Holy Week family rules.
Imagine how alarmed we all were in the family one Good Friday morning.
Father descended the long back door stairs from the kitchen carrying a bunch of big and fat nails, a hammer, and a saw.
He said he would fix the chicken cage at our backyard.
My mother could only go as far as reprimand him.
One Holy Week tradition that amazes me until now was the total silence that my home country observes on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
You cannot see any vehicle running the streets on these days.
All stores are closed as well. So you have to buy what you need from the store before Holy Thursday.
It was amazing how we, back home, keep still and stop all our activities to honor Christ and celebrate His passion on the Cross on Holy Week.
That’s how reverently we honor Christ in the Catholic faith.
Sadly, it was only after I left our country for America that I realized all this richness about our Catholic practices and tradition.
I wish I would find the same reverence we have for God as we had before . . . when I get back home.