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Written by sayc   
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 06:47
KWARESMA

The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days' fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. Still it has been used from the Anglo-Saxon period to translate the more significant Latin term quadragesima (French carême, Italian quaresima, Spanish cuaresma), meaning the "forty days", or more literally the "fortieth day". This in turn imitated the Greek name for Lent, tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste), which last was in use for the Jewish festival before New Testament times. This etymology, as we shall see, is of some little importance in explaining the early developments of the Easter fast. [www. newadvent.org/cathen/09152a.htm]
In our childhood days, we do not put so much meaning on Lent and we do not remember much of it as a season of prayer and recollection, except that during this time of year, our lolas and lolos would tell us not to go out of our houses because of ‘mamarangs’ appearing in midday and of ‘irong buangs’ running around the streets during the day. It is almost a frightful feeling having to think about all those ugly, haggard-looking faces of the ‘mamarangs’ who, according to Mamay, had nails creeping out of their fingers and hairs standing only to pierce into your nostrils and then……it would be the end of the story. And ‘irong buangs’ too, with their lolling tongues and slimy fluids coming out, and of course, their long tails under their bodies….and with eyes as red as fire… And there also were the ‘anay nga nagbakya’ or the ‘tikbalang’ or worse, the so-called ‘tambaloslos’.

According to stories of the old, when the ‘
tambaloslos’ smiles, the skin on his face would go down to his neck such that what will remain will be bones and bones and bones.... Stories of these remind us of our childhood and how we believe our lolos, lolas, ingkos, mamays and even our mamas and papas. And these stories come out during summer.

Or Lent.
But Lent means spring, and this is the season between winter and summer. So, Lent has nothing to do with ‘mamarangs’, ‘irong buangs’, ‘tikbalangs’, ‘tambaloslos’ and the like, after all…..

Today, my childhood memories lead me back to the times when ours was the only house standing in the middle of a forested lot… with very little access road, no electricity but the ‘lamparilla’ and lolo’s ‘mitsa’ to light us at night. That is why, it was always difficult for us to go out without company, especially at night, when stories of ‘moltos’ and ‘santilmos’ and ‘lungons’ in the middle of the not-so-busy street in our barrio would always haunt our little minds. And more especially when the ‘lingganay’ would be rung for the ‘alas ocho’ coupled with the uncanny sounds of ‘moltos’ that we occasionally hear from the ‘menteryo’ which is not quite far.

These and more remind us of the season of ‘kwaresma’…. and how it creates in children a different feeling…. As children, we have never thought that ‘kwaresma’ is the time to prepare ourselves through prayer, penitence and almsgiving for the commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ. For us, it is the time to play, to go out with friends to ‘bakong or dagohong’, ‘manaka ug sambag, abihid ug uban pa’, and mess out with ‘barkadas’ to gather ‘sagisi’ for the ‘luthang’ only to be used later for the ‘gira-gira’, and many more.

Now that we’ve grown old enough to understand the true meaning of ‘kwaresma’, let us pause once in a while from where we are and look back at the year that has been… and pray for spiritual healing of both our bodies and our souls.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2011 02:23
 
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