Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slingshots and Other Forbidden Things During Holy Week in the Dupax of My Youth

MY FAVORITE Collins English Dictionary (Discovery Edition 2006) defines Lent as "the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday, during which some Christians give up doing something they enjoy."

As always, I don't know what other guys in my predominantly Catholic town did during Lent when they were small. But when I was growing up I did have my fair share of enjoyable things to give up during such holiest part of the year which, by the way, I wrongly thought until recently only covered the week that had a Maundy Thursday and a Good Friday in it. 

All right, fasting or giving up on too much food was quite easy for me then. For one thing, unlike today, I was not much of an eater then. Besides there was not much to choose then from among the usual pinakbet veggies (i.e., eggplant, okra, bitter gourd, tomato) and string beans, gabi, saluyot, camote tops, edible fern, and occasional sabunganay (banana "heart").

The same ease was true with observing abstinence or giving up on meat. This was for the simple reason that even as we raised chickens, pigs, ducks, dogs, and goats, and often had carabaos and cows in the custody of uncles, we seldom had them killed unless there was a big occasion or reason. The closest to meat from mobile living things we had were river fish (e.g., dalaj, sappilan, tilapia), ricefield shells (e.g., asisip, basikul, ambeveyo^), shrimps, crabs, and frogs.

For penitence, we always had household chores to attend to. For instance, we always had small logs to split into firewood and let dry in the sun, newly harvested palay to dry and guard from marauding chickens and housebirds on mats or on cemented ground somewhere, drying vegetable garden and ornamental plants to water every day.

Thus, plus or minus doing a couple of Stations of the Cross in church and joining the Good Friday libut (procession) around town, we weren't wanting in things to do in preparation for Easter, particularly Easter Sunday when the church bells of Dupax would be rung again and in the Sabet (where the Risen Christ and Mother Mary would meet) where the word "Alleluia" would be said and sang again.

NOW, IF YOU ASK your not-so-religious Isinay Bird to be more specific on the acts he did heed elderly calls to consider as verboten (bawal in Isinay and Tagalog, maiparit in Ilocano, haram in Muslim) during Holy Week, easily the most challenging ones when I was growing up were the following:
  • Not using the slingshot. 
  •  Not climbing fruit trees.
  •  Not going too far from home.

(NOTE: This post is a stub; I'll flesh it out shortly.)

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