By Christina Hermoso
Catholics traditionally observe Holy Wednesday, the fourth day of the Holy Week, with solemn processions that are held in several towns and cities across the country.
Pilgrims and tourists travel to key areas across the country to watch or walk along with other devotees on Holy Wednesday and the more elaborate Good Friday processions.
With the exception of the images of the Pieta, Christ being brought down from the cross, and the Santo Sepulcro (interred Christ), life-size images depicting the passion of Christ will be paraded through the streets on elaborately decorated carriages early in the evening in the towns of Pakil and Majayjay in Laguna; Betis, Sasmuan, and San Fernando in Pampanga; Meycauyan, and Malolos in Bulacan; San Mateo, Rizal; in Marinduque, in many parts of Quezon City and Pateros, and in San Pablo and Molo in Iloilo City.
In Baliuag, Bulacan, the much anticipated “Prusisyon ng mga Santo,” a grand procession featuring nearly a hundred images has become a popular attraction on Holy Wednesday and on Good Friday.
In Paete, Laguna, several images of Christ’s passion will be paraded on the streets in a procession known as “Salubong” after the early evening mass. An old custom observed in the town on Holy Wednesday is the ritual bathing of the centuries-old wooden image of the Santo Sepulcro at the Santiago de Apostol Parish Church.
The Holy Wednesday processions traditionally serve as a prelude to the more elaborate and much longer processions held on Good Friday. Devotees follow the procession holding lighted candles, singing hymns, and praying the Holy Rosary.
Other Holy Week traditions observed on Holy Wednesday include the holding of the last of the three-day “pabasa,” the marathon chanting of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the praying of the Way of the Cross.
Also known as Spy Wednesday, Holy Wednesday in the life of Jesus focuses on the betrayal by Judas, when Judas Iscariot conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver coins.