"..a bardy view!"

Good Friday! Good Grief!

"It's Good Friday" I remarked carelessly to my wife. "What's good about it?" she replied. I thought for a moment before answering, because I realised it was a very good question.

After all, it signifies a man abused and tortured, made to carry his own cross to be crucified, had nails hammered into his palms, a crown of thorns embedded in his cranium, and given vinegar to drink when he asked for water. It was clearly a bad day for Him.

My wife also remarked that when she was a child she would be filled with foreboding and fear if it rained on Good Friday. It meant that God was crying and very angry with the world. Rain is rare in the Philippines at Easter, so this childhood belief probably had a substantial impact.

In San Fernando, Pampanga – a province north of Manila, penitents play out the crucifixion to uncanny similarity. Devout Christians undergo self-flagellation whipping their bare backs with strips of bamboo, whilst others are nailed to crosses. This ritual has become a tourist event over the years, attracting over 30,000 visitors to witness the events.

Foreigners have now been banned from actually taking part due to suspect motives. John Safran an Australian comedian was allowed to get nailed to a cross last year claiming he was a Catholic student whose mother was dying from cancer. In fact he did it for his comedy show in Australia. On another occasion a bloke from Japan was nailed to the cross claiming to be seeking divine intervention to cure his young cancer-stricken brother. It turned out that his friends filmed the act to use in a Japanese porn movie.

Lets not get carried away with this – Lent can bring out the best and worst in people, and Good Friday can send some folk into apoplexy. This excessive behaviour is not indicative of the Filipino psyche, and Easter there is most revered and (dare I say) joyous and celebratory.

But back to the terminology. "Good Friday" possibly the most sacred day in the Christian calendar, appears to have been diminished by our consumer led society. It's certainly a good friday for the new deities of consumerism – for the big four gods Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons whose temples are open all day for worshippers here in the UK.

I note they will be closed throughout Sunday. Now that's a Good Day.



April 2, 2010 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Events, General, History, Religion, The Philippines, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , ,

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