Holy Week – Mahal na Araw – was impossible to miss back home.
Schools were closed, for one. And although some availed themselves of this time to vacation, many others devoted the time to penance and contemplation, flocking to churches for retreats and services, or participating in other Lenten traditions like Stations of the Cross processions or re-enactments of The Lord’s Passion (Senakulo).
I remember visiting our grandparents’ home in the province during Holy Week and hearing the chanting of the Pabasa (literally, “Reading”) by family and friends in their backyard – an age-old tradition where the Pasyon, a 16th-century epic poem of The Lord’s Passion written in beautiful and rhythmic old Tagalog, is chanted continuously for one or more days, ending on Good Friday. (More on Filipino epic poems here and here.)
Nowadays, it is a challenge, to say the least, attempting to create a similar atmosphere of penance and contemplation in our family during Lent, and especially during Holy Week. Life around us pretty much goes on as usual, with the exception of Good Friday when almost everything is closed.
And so I’ve been wanting to do the Crown of Thorns for a while, shying away from it only because of the little ones.
This year, we finally got to make one.
With a little inspiration from Catholic Icing, the kids took a box of toothpicks and transformed a bare grapevine wreath atop our cake stand (draped with a fabric scrap) into our first Crown of Thorns.
Really, any material at hand can be used to make a Crown of Thorns – Lacy on Catholic Icing makes crowns from play-doh, and also dips the “thorns” in brown paint (which we hope to do for next year) for a more realistic look.
A good friend of mine – a gifted hat-maker who just opened up her own Etsy shop – used one of her mannequin heads for an even more realistic look. A bit too realistic perhaps for some, but it serves nevertheless as a reminder that such an unsightly event did happen for real. Ecce Homo.
With each good deed, act of service, or sacrifice, a thorn is pulled and placed in a little bowl, with the goal to remove all thorns by Easter.
So simple, and yet what a difference it has made!
Whining and grumbling – even potential meltdowns – have been averted by the mere mention of the opportunity to pull out a thorn. (I am sorely tempted to keep the Crown year-round!)
Of course, if you keep your Crown at the dinner table as we do, be prepared for unexpected spatters – fortunately, in this case, the Parmesan was easy to dust off. 😉
What to do after Easter? Some may choose to paint and decorate the Crown, but Lacy has yet another suggestion – fill the crown with painted Easter eggs as a nest. We may do just that.
Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay! Happy Easter!
More on Lent and Easter:
- Of Salubongs and Gardens – my post on a Filipino Easter dawn tradition and Resurrection Gardens
- Stations of the Cross for Children – beautiful printable Stations
- How to Fold A Palm Cross
- Holy Heroes – plentiful resources including Lenten Adventure, Advent Adventure, and everything in between.
- The Crucifixion, Eclipses and Moon Phases – a fun demonstration even 5 year olds will easily understand: the phases of the moon and why the Crucifixion darkness can’t possibly be explained by a solar eclipse.