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Did you know that Catholicism dominated the religions in the Philippines?

According
to WikiPedia’s Demographic Of the Philippines article, 75 – 80 percent of Filipinos are Roman
Catholics, 1 percent are irreligious, 4.2 percent are Muslims, 15 percent are Protestant
Christians, and followed other religions like Iglesia ni Cristo, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
day Saints(Mormon), Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Animism, and Paganism. With
the domination of the Catholics in the Philippines, I would like discuss on how Filipino Catholic
traditions are mainly classified into groups: Baptism Ceremonies, Holy Communion
Ceremonies, Funerals Ceremonies, Wedding Ceremonies, Christmas Ceremonies, and Holy
Week Ceremonies. These ceremonies are concerned with the involvement of the Catholic
Church as it is celebrated.

Photo from Donna Sundblad posted on The Rite of Catholic Baptism


First of the categories, Catholic Baptism Ceremonies are religious ceremonies done to cleanse
our spirits and become part of Christ. Before the celebration, the parents of the child must
choose their respective godparents which are chosen to be the next parents who can guide the
godchild from religious education. The short church mass is held which serves as an orientation
for the family, godparents, and parents. After the homily, the holy water is poured on the head
of the infant and the father saying the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit” as a sign of cleansing his or her spirit. As a tradition from most
Filipinos after baptismal celebrations, Filipinos prepared banquets for their guests. Baptism
Ceremonies are important for Filipino Catholics because it is a step for welcoming the infants to
being a Catholic.

Photo from Fr. Sean Coyle posted on Bangor to Bobbio


Next to Baptism Ceremonies, Holy Communion Ceremonies are religious ceremonies done to
establish partnership and relationship with God. This ceremony is prominent to the 3rd Grade
students ages 6 to 7. Before the ceremony, Filipino children are taught by a brother or sister
about the religious prayers, mortal sins, the sacrifices and forgiveness of Christ. In the
ceremony, the children are dressed in formal white clothing and they will receive Christ’s body
and blood by bread wafers dipped wine after the homily. With the completion of the ceremony,
the children are able to receive communion together with the adult members of the church in a
Eucharistic Mass.

Photo from Ruslan Vladimirovich Albitsky originally posted on Flickr.com and reposted
on WikiPedia
In opposite of baptismal celebrations, Funeral ceremonies are religious ceremonies which
involves the blessing of the people who passed away before they are buried or cremated. The
ceremony includes vigil, funeral liturgies, and rite of committal according to Diocese of San
Diego. These ceremonies helps us accept the reality of death, give our last testimonies, and
encourage us to embrace and let our pain out. The family and friends sprinkle holy water
through the corpse as a sign of good bye with prayers. In this ceremony, Filipinos learn the
acceptance of lost and pain with the deceased loved one.

Photo from twofoot posted at Two Foot creative


Moving on, Wedding ceremonies are the religious ceremonies in which a couple is joined in
Holy Matrimony as it was mentioned fromMarriage and Wedding customs in the
Philippines. For the traditional Filipino wedding ceremony, the bride wears custom-made white
wedding gown with cloth covered from her face and accessories the should be like something
blue, something borrowed, something old, and something new ( the wedding sayings). On the
other hand, the groom wears barong tagalog (embroidered polo that is made from pineapple
fibers). The ceremony has paraphernalia from the bridesmaid up to the ring bearer which are
the wedding rings and arrhae, wedding candles, wedding veils, and wedding cord. In this
ceremony, Filipinos give themselves to the person that they are committed. Wedding
ceremonies shows the importance of life-long commitment of an individual to another.

Photo from Larissa Ubungen ™


Lastly, the Holy Week ceremonies are the religious festivals celebrated at the last week of Lent
and week before Easter as it was mentioned in Holy Week: Filipino Style. These ceremonies
serve as the contribution of the people for repentance and renewal. Penance can be done by
Fasting, Way of the Cross, Passion plays or Sinakulo, and reading or even chanting
the Pasyon or the Passion of Christ. As other Filipinos celebrates them brutally like flagellating
one’s self, carrying a cross and by crucifixion. By paying penance, they are able to reflect and
improve one’s spirituality. It doesn’t matter whichever one will choose on how they will pay for
penance but the important part is the reason why are we doing it.