A Sense of Stability From Observing Traditions

7:33 PM

The Martinez Family Pabasa is held every year in Pililla, Rizal.   I heard a very interesting conversation between my husband and my eleven-year old son during Holy Week and it went this way:

Son:  Why do we have to go back to Pililla again tomorrow?

Father:  My family is in charge of the "Pabasa" this year and it is my responsibility to be there to be   present and help in any way I can and because you are my son, you have the same responsibility as I do. I expect you and your sister to carry on when your turn comes.

Just to put this conversation in its proper perspective, a Pabasa is a Philippine tradition that involves the non-stop recitation of an epic narrative of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in a chanting manner. Based on Philippine custom, the host of the Pabasa provides for the needs of the chanters including food and refreshments.  For this year, my husband's family serves as the host for this event in their father's hometown in Pililla, Rizal.  Their turn comes every five years but this is actually the very first time that our family gets to have any direct participation in it since my father-in-law has already passed away.

For this year, we decided to try our best to be present from Good Friday to Easter Sunday which necessitated going back and forth for three days between Manila and Pililla.  Although the trip is not exactly monumentally long, it can be very trying on the patience of children, especially with the heat and traffic.  My son's question is not in any form a complaint but a manifestation of a typical behavior observed in many children of never-ending why's .  I saw the surprise in my son's face when his seemingly innocent question triggered a very serious answer from his father.  Coming from my husband who is generally playful with our children even in conversations, his answer was indeed a mouthful.  It bore an air of finality and appears to be non-negotiable in every aspect.  For the record, my son accepted the answer as it is and proceeded with other questions occupying his young and curious mind.

To be very frank about it, I was secretly relieved in how the conversation turned out ,being often wary about how most children nowadays get to always have their way with their parents. I believe that a healthy dose of character-building can be obtained from observing age-old traditions such as the Pabasa.  It does not only offer an excuse to bring families together but observation of traditions that come like clockwork offer a sense of stability in a world devoid of permanency.

My Say

Actively involving our children with family and community traditions introduces them to their future responsibilities.  It makes them realize that there is a world beyond our homes and a family beyond our own families.  There are many things parents say and do that can be challenged by their children but these developing minds should know that there are some things that are simply not open to questioning.

That said, parents need to offer a sense of stability to their children by observing traditions.

Martinez Family Pabasa 2012 Photos Courtesy of Butch Panergo

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  1. It is rare to find a family like yours, you are a very lucky wife and your son is also lucky to have a father like your husband. My father is known to be religious but he had another task for holy week. And I have one too. Anyway. Just saying hi!
    Points of View of Travels and Places

  2. My dad is also a strong believer when it comes to passing down old religious traditions. sometimes, participating in traditions like this make a family grow stronger together. :)

  3. its nice to see a family who values tradition, customs and religion which I think is a good foundation for a family... Thanks for this post.. your family can be an inspiration to others

  4. Great of you to hold the pabasa religious ritual.

  5. traditions makes our identity as filipinos unique.. I am impressed that you were able to impart this with your children imprinting in them great values being taught in these traditions. :)

  6. to carry out traditions, that makes who we are as filipinos... we need to involve our children... Yahweh bless.

  7. I admire your family and your stance in the Filipino tradition. During holy week, what we do as a family aside from attending masses, is the Visita Iglesia; not as tasking as the Pabasa :)

  8. what a sweet tradition to pass along to your kids
    :-) I really miss Holy Week back in the Philippines :-) here in the US, it is like a regular day :-(

  9. good to know there are still families like you who educate kids with our customs and traditions. but sadly, the new generation don't recognize the significance anymore.

  10. We can start with our own families and hope that our children will carry over good traditions in their time.


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