- Posted April 7, 2012 by
Muntinlupa City, Philippines
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Senakulo In The Philippines
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
'Senakulo' is a dramatic performance to commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ. It was taken from the Spanish word 'cenaculo' which literally means the ''Upper Room''. In Christian tradition, based on Acts 1:13, the "Upper Room" was not only the place of the Last Supper (i.e. the Cenacle), but the usual site where the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia "the very first Christian church". Senakulo (pronounced as sen-na-kuh-lo) has long been a part and parcel of the traditional practices being done by Filipinos during the Holy Week. It is actually a Lenten play that depicts events from the New Testament's 4 gospels-- related to the life, sufferings, and death of Christ.
In many urban areas all over the Philippines, the modernized versions of the senakulo run for only one or two hours. They may be presented in different types of venues: on the traditional stage, on the streets, in a chapel, in a large room, or out in the open. Comedy, romance, and special effects may be incorporated in the said plays. Also, the modern versions of the senakulos tend to focus not on Christ’s submissiveness to the Father, but on his reason and resolve in bravely standing up for the oppressed or the downtrodden against their oppressors, perhaps suggesting how current problems may be resolved.
People near the church wait excitedly to watch the reenactment. Locals act as Roman soldiers with their menacingly painted masks and armors, pounding on doors to look for Jesus. Most anticipated among the episodes in a senakulo are the judgment of Jesus, the Crucifixion and His Seven Last Words. Spectators may range from devotees to the merely curious bystanders. For some, it is the time to reflect on the life of Jesus, while others take it as a chance to spend time with family, relatives, associates, fellow-church members and friends.
The pictures in this i-Report show how a senakulo happens. The bystanders and spectators watched the senakulo up to the last scene of the play. The senakulo here happened in front of the Saint Martin de Porres Parish at San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. The play included songs, dialogues and dances from the actors, singers and dancers who took part in the play. The play happened yesterday- Good Friday, April 6, before the Mass for the Seven Last Words of Jesus took place inside the Saint Martin de Porres Church. Microphones and loudspeakers were used so that the spectators can hear the dialogues and songs of the play's cast members. The crowd actually enjoyed the play since 'senakulos' are now rare in urban areas here in the Philippines.
NOTE: I wasn't able to upload the photos right away because my internet connection wasn't functioning well yesterday. My internet connection became normal again just some few hours ago. Senakulos, (dramatic performances in the Philippines commemorating the passion, death and, in some instances, the resurrection of Jesus) are held all over the country from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday. Senakulos are still happening in some parts of the country today - Black Saturday. The senakulos being done today are in preparation for tomorrow's Easter Sunday festivities.