Salubong is a Filipino Easter tradition that has been observed in the country for a long time. It is a Filipino word that translates to "meeting" because it is a ritual that reenacts the meeting of Jesus Christ and His mother, Mary after His resurrection. It is the culmination of the Easter Vigil that starts about after 6 pm on Black Saturday and happens on the early dawn of Easter Sunday.
Christmas and Easter
Easter is considered the greatest event for the Christian faith even surpassing Christmas in importance. While the latter represents the birth of Jesus Christ, Easter represents Jesus Christ's Resurrection from the dead. For the faithful, it signals rebirth into a new life.
All the things done during Christmas are considered preparation for Easter. Both events are celebrated in a joyous manner although Easter is preceded by the Passion and Death of Christ. The western style of celebrating both is symbolized by Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, respectively. Both symbolism emphasize the importance of giving.
Lenten observation starts at Ash Wednesday. Catholics are enjoined to observe fasting and abstinence specifically during all the Fridays of Lent. They are likewise encouraged to go to confession so as to prepare themselves for Holy Week.
Holy Week is the last week of Lent and starts on Palm Sunday. The days in between this and the Easter Triduum consisting of Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Holy or Black Saturday are called "Holy" thus Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday. These days are intended to be days of deep reflection for the Passion and Death of Christ. All these eventually lead to the joyous event of Easter.
The preparation for the Easter Sunday celebration itself starts with the Easter Vigil. It is the service held in traditional Christian churches to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is commonly held on the last hours of Holy Saturday up to early hours of Easter Sunday.
In the Philippines, this is when the "Salubong" is held as well. During the "Salubong" the images of the Resurrected Christ and the grieving Mother Mary covered with a veil have two different processions. The male faithful usually accompany the image of the Resurrected Christ while the female faithful accompany the image of Mother Mary. These two images will meet at a certain point, usually in the church grounds where a shower of petals will come down after Mother Mary's veil is lifted. A small girl dressed as an angel traditionally lifts the veil from above. The rest of the angels will shower the two images with flowers amidst the exultation of the faithful.
My youngest daughter joined the angels for this year's "Salubong". Nothing can prevent her great anticipation and excitement as she patiently waited for the images of the Resurrected Christ and Mother Mary to stop below where they are stationed on the church balcony above so they can provide the shower of flowers. Not even the rain that came a few minutes before their cue.
That said, as I stood there covering my child from the rain as best as I could, I asked the Lord's protection from the threat of sickness in being exposed to the elements as my child did her role for the event along with the other angels. I did not have the words to stop her when she asked to stay in spite of the rain. So I did what every mother was expected to do and stayed with her as she played her simple role for that night to perfection in this Filipino Easter tradition called Salubong.