Disclaimer: This post may contain videos of a graphic and gory nature. Reader Beware!!
The season of lent is amongst us. In fact, Holy Week, the most important week of the season kicked off yesterday, with the celebration of Palm Sunday. While most of us here in the US fail to celebrate this occasion save for Easter Sunday (and that isn’t even really about religion, but is more about bunnies and eggs!), a big part of the World commemorates lent with traditions seeped in the Christian faith intertwined with touches of their own culture.
A common practice worldwide is to abstain from eating meat, but in many countries, it goes far beyond that! I find it all very interesting really, as these practices range from the amusing, the cute, the strange,to the all out gory bordering on inhumane! W
ithout further ado, here are 5 of the most fascinating lenten traditions in my book;
1. Ever heard of a Pancake race? Well, they actually exist! To use up the all the eggs and fat before lent, residents of various parts of Britain participate on a Pancake on Shrove Tuesday. The town of Olney, in Buckinghamshire is perhaps most famous for these pancake races. Housevives dressed in aprons hurriedly cook their pancakes upon hearing the first churchbell, and dash outside when hearing the second. They race from Market square to the church, clad in their aprons and pans. Upon reaching the church, participants have to toss their pancakes in the air 3 times! Yummm!!!
2. In Mexico, Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of lent are celebrated by cooking up the “Capirotada”– a dessert made up of crusty rolls, raisins, cheese, butter, milk, sugar, tomatoes, onions, plaintains and other secret Mexican ingredients. They make this as a substitute of sorts for meat. Wouldn’t you like to take a bite of this?
3. In Poland, housewives stop baking bread a week before Palm Sunday. It is believed that if they do, the bread they bake for the rest of the year would spoil. Many resume baking on Holy week, especially on good Friday. It is said that if a housewife violated this, the whole village would suffer from a long drought, which can only be countered by throwing the guilty party with her pots in a pond!
4. Another tradition in Poland is for people not to use mirrors and combs on Good Friday. Mirrors are covered, and combs are put away! I wonder how people manage to shave and get dressed, and put make-up on on this day?! LOL.
5. This last tradition from the Philippines, is not for the squeamish and faint-hearted. In many provinces like Pampanga and Cebu, devotees re-enact Christ’s crucifixion under the heat of the sun. Using 2 inch stainless steel nails soaked in alchohol, they are actually nailed to the cross! Ouch!!! WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING SCENES
I’ve never had a Holy week that extreme! And to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t want to subject myself to that pain. I am a coward who would rather spend his holy week here. And just because it is Holy week after all, I’d promise not to eat meat! :)Do you have interesting traditions for Lent in your part of the world? Please share!