For many Filo-Aussies, lent is just not the same if you’re outside the Philippines. For a country that practically never stops working, the Holy Week is the only week in the year when shopping malls are closed so all staff can observe lent. Despite COVID, the flight of many ‘probinsyanos’ in Manila to their hometown were at record levels this year.
So how do you keep the Lenten spirit in Australia even if you’re thousands of kilometres away from the Phiippines? Here are five cheap and cheerful ways to celebrate Easter.
- Make your own palm leaf cross
In the Philippines, city sidewalks are often filled with vendors who would sell you a variety of palm cross, from simple to ornamental. But it’s hard to do when you’re in Sydney. However, if you have a palm tree at home (or one of your neighbours have a cabbage palm tree, you can do one yourself. Here’s a link to a YouTube how-to.
- Visit Mt. Schoenstatt in Mulgoa
If you live in Sydney, you can drive to Mt. Schoenstatt in Mulgoa. For Filipinos who live in Blacktown and surrounds, this beautiful shrine and church is only minutes away. The stations of the cross are conveniently less than 30 to 50 metres apart so it’s one that the entire family can do in an hour or less.
Or you can attend it virtually if you’re too far away.
- Abstain from social media or messaging
Traditionally people abstain from eating meat during Lent but perhaps an even bigger sacrifice for a lot of people is to take a break from social media. Even a three-day break from Instagram might give you more time to reflect or read a book.
- April is the new January
Easter is also a time for renewal and a fresh start. While it’s a Filipino tradition not to do any chores on Good Friday, the rest of the weekend is a perfect time to give your house or unit a spring clean.
- Learn more about Filipino Lent
If you’ve lived in Australia for a long time or you were born here, you might now know enough about the rich Filipino tradition around Lent. You can google ‘Senakulo’ on YouTube or find out more about ‘Salubong’. The town of Angono, Rizal does it best. Here’s an oldie but a goodie on how they celebrated back in 2009.