I like Easter. I'm sad to be away from home during my favorite holiday, but must admit, Easter in the Philippines is pretty cool. Today is Good Friday, and the entire day was a preparation for the processional at the end of the day. In the procession are floats, depicting the different parts of the crucifiction, as well as almost every person in town holding white candles.
To prepare, my host family is in charge of preparing the body of Christ, literally. The town has a hundred year old wooden statue of Jesus that's 6 feet tall. I'm told it's the biggest Jesus statue in all of Leyte. Yeah, it's pretty big time. I'm also told that at times, the statue snores. So to prepare the body of Christ, they wash it with soapy water, and then annoint it with oil and perfumes. I felt lucky to be able to watch two old women, who have done this ritual for years, carefully wash Jesus.
Next, Jesus was moved into a clear case and then laid to rest on a carriage that was covered with decorated metal. Then I helped them cut ferns that were used, along with white flowers, to decorate the carriage around Jesus. The carriage with Jesus was just one of many. Other floats showcased him walking with the cross, Mary, and Santo Nino.
It was great to see all these traditions, ones that you know go back for generations. I think Easter is definitely a great time to come visit the Philippines!