What is Santo Entierro?
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A priest’s encounter with law enforcers in a checkpoint in Kidapawan City captured the internet’s attention lately.
In what seemed a thriller-comedy movie in the making, police hailed Fr. Jonel Peroy’s car after suspecting a dead body on the backseat. The figure, however, turned out to be the sculpture of the dead Christ.
A worried Fr. Peroy explained that he was carrying the image of the Santo Entierro, wrapped in plastic, as part of their parish church’s upcoming Lenten activities. The police, in turn, had a good laugh and apologized to the priest.
What is Santo Entierro?
But what is the Santo Entierro, and why does it look like a dead body?
Santo Entierro literally means Holy Burial in Spanish. The term is also used to name one of the highlights during Holy Week, and the statue of the dead Christ, the one Fr. Peroy carried in his car.
As an image, the Santo Entierro consists of an ornately designed calandra, the local term referring to the bier that will carry the statue of the dead Christ.
In most cases, the calandra is adorned with flowers for mourning. The image of the dead Christ, on the other hand, can either be bare or ‘covered to the neck in a shroud of red, white, black or gold.’
As a Lenten activity, the Santo Entierro is held every Good Friday. Like the name suggests, it depicts the moments after Christ died on the cross.
Churches and devotees hold the Santo Entierro through various ways.
In some areas, like in Bantayan Island in northern Cebu, the Santo Entierro is the highlight of its Solemn Procession every Good Friday. The procession also includes images of other saints.
Other localities place the image of the dead Christ inside a church where the faithful venerate by kissing or touching the image.
When COVID-19 became a pandemic, church officials here in Cebu suspended all outdoor activities during the Holy Week, including those involving the Santo Entierro, for two years. They only returned in 2022.
Regardless of its design and the nature of the activity, the Santo Entierro symbolizes Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for humankind’s salvation.
1. ‘Santo Entierro’ | CBCPNews
2. Santo Entierro processions return in Cebu | Cebu Daily News (inquirer.net)
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