Friday, April 02, 2010

Pampanga: Holy Thursday Dakit Cordero procession in Mabalacat, Pampanga

Holy Thursday is usually commemorated with the cordero ritual. In Morong, Rizal and previously in Betis, Pampanga, the Lamb of God was prepared for an afternoon procession, shaped out of mashed kamote (sweet potatoes) and potatoes. Unfortunately, Betis no longer does the tradition.

We found out that Mabalacat still has its Dakit Cordero (fetching of the lamb) mid-afternoon procession. Dakit Cordero is now a rare Lenten practice of bringing the Lamb of God to the church, symbolic of Jesus' imminent death.

So we drove over to Mabalacat to join the tradition. The procession leaves the town church between 2:30 to 3 p.m. So while waiting, we walked over to the Apung Mamacalulu or the Santo Entierro of the town which is housed in its own chapel in the compound of the caretaker family. Although the church has its own Santo Entierro image, it is this smaller image that is brought out during the Good Friday Santo Entierro procession.

Back at the church, the bells pealed as the procession composed of sacristans, a Marian youth group, and men in barong symbolizing the apostles, left the church for the house of the hermano mayor.

At the house of the hermano mayor, the group was fed. And after a short liturgical ceremony, the cordero was carried by a young lady together with the procession back to the church. Under the lamb is a hollow wooden container shaped like a book. Inside the book is food which people partake of after the blessing of the cordero at the church.

Maybe next year, I'll visit Morong, Rizal where the last of the original cordero processions are held. I hope they are able to revive the one in Betis, Pampanga as well. Some priests can really wreak havoc to local age-old traditions. I hope the current parish priest finds the interest to push for its revival next year.

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