Pangilin/pangingilin is often translated as abstinence, fasting and sacrifice (as found in the internet). In our family and my hometown in Southern Tagalog, pangilin/pangingilin means keeping the holy days holy which may involve abstinence, fasting , sacrifice, praying or simply being quiet, reflecting on the passion of Christ , of faith. It is deference or respect borne of faith.

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Pangingilin is practiced during Lent. The Catholic church prescribes, prayer, fasting and alms giving but pangingilin can be done in other ways.

  1. Prayer – We are supposed to pray every day but the church encourages us to be more prayerful or be more mindful of our prayers.
  2. Fasting – this is prescribed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  3. Alms giving- we can give of ourselves in various ways, our own ways .
  4. Attending retreats and recollections – this can be done prior to Holy Week as a preparation or during Holy Week
  5. Attending masses and church services – there are masses everyday and special masses and services.
  6. Abstinence- abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday of Lent is part of Catholic teaching. Some abstain from activities like smoking, social media , vices, etc.
  7. Not working or doing business – this can be your job or postponing heavy chores. This is reflected in the government declaration of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as holidays. Only those working in essential jobs are required to work. Metro Manila streets are empty during these days except those which are near churches. In smaller towns and localities, even sari-sari stores (corner stores) suspend business. In recent times, there are a few establishments which open specially the eateries.
  8. Reflection – this can be done in church or in your chosen quiet place.

In the old days pangingilin involved refraining from any form of merry-making like singing loud songs( the song that should be heard is the Pasion) and cracking jokes/laughing out loud. Kids were not allowed to play strenuous or physical games. There were even those who refrained from wearing loud colors, short of wearing black for mourning.

Fittingly, after a week of pangingilin, the observance turns to joy of the Resurrection, the celebration of Easter Sunday.

2 thoughts on “Pangilin

  1. Bougainvillea-

    It is sad that more and more people nowadays , even though they are Catholic, do not take fasting and abstinence seriously. Fast food joints are now open, serving chicken and pork even on Good Friday.



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