Just like some other towns in Laguna, Paete also has this stunning celebration during Holy Week. This celebration highlights the procession of images which shows not only their religiosity, but also their excellent craftsmanship. This unique celebration is also the reason why tourists flock to Paete during Lenten Season.
And to know more about Paete’s celebration during Holy Week, let us check these facts from Wikipedia.com
Paete’s most spectacular celebration takes place during Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday with the re-enactment of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalam. The short procession starts at the Ermita Chapel where the priest blesses the palaspas (palm branch) of the faithful. The participants then slowly move to the church as manangs (religious women) put their balabal (shawl) on the street for the priest to walk through. This custom is called payapak.
A mass is held and afterwards the 16th-century statue of the Dead Body of Christ, or Señor Sepulkro to Paeteños, is brought home to its recamadero (owner and keeper of said image). The images are owned by individual families and are passed down to succeeding generations.
For five days leading to Good Friday, the faithful kiss the exposed hands and feet of the Señor Sepulkro. On Holy Wednesday, a procession is held with Paete’s 53 images of Christ’s Passion and Ministry on display.
The procession goes through the town’s narrow streets en route to the church. It stops three times to give way to theSalubong (meeting) which depicts three scenes of Jesus’ passion and in which Paete’s “moving saints” take part. These are: the meeting of Christ and Mary, held at the church patio; the wiping of Jesus’ face by Veronica, which takes place at Plaza Edesan; and finally, the encounter between Mary and Veronica where the latter shows the miraculous imprints of Christ’s face on her cloth. This is held at the town plaza.
Maundy Thursday witnesses the dramatization of the Last Supper and Washing of the Disciples’ feet and a night-long vigil is observed. The Aglipayan Church meanwhile conducts its own version of the Salubong. On Good Friday the Siete Palabras (Seven Last Words of Christ) are recited until 3 p.m., the time of Christ’s death.
A short procession then goes to the house of the Sto. Entierro (the Interred Christ) to bring the supine statue to the church in the act of burying the dead. The Sto. Entierro is borne on the shoulders of the town’s male devotees. It is believed that if the carroza (carriage) felt heavy on the devotee’s shoulder, he had gravely sinned, and if it felt light, the opposite was true.
It is then paraded through town in a solemn manner. Afterwards, the flowers that adorned the carroza are handed down to the faithful along with a piece of thread from the pillow where the Señor laid his head. The faithful seize these in hopes of a miracle or cure. The townspeople burst out in celebration on Black Saturday and hold the Sabado de Gloria Ball. On Easter Sunday the church re-enacts another Salubong—this time the meeting of Mary and the Risen Christ.
This annual event is not only a medium for Paeteños to display their religiosity but also a means to showcase the superb craftsmanship of their art. The week-long tableau is repeated every year and attracts a handful of visitors from all over the world.
image from: laguna-destinations.com