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Mar 22, 2008

A rainy and foggy Good Friday

It was dusty and humid at first, then it rained so hard, and it became foggy. That did not deter thousands from trekking to Mount Tapochau in observance of Good Friday, but there were fewer trekkers this year than the previous years.

Every year, 'almost' the same male devotees -- young and old -- carry the wooden cross to the summit.

The problematic economy also took its toll on the annual journey. The Saipan Mayor's Office did not provide portable toilets. There were only about six groups that provided free refreshments to pilgrims unlike years before when there were over 10. But that's part of the penitence, right, fasting?

Lastly, the roads were littered with disposable cups and plastics. People just don't get it.


KAP said...

You didn't remind them that littering is a deadly sin?

HBM said...

Thanks for the interesting description of an annual Saipan tradition, Weird Elle. It's a little sad how this year's event reflected a dwindling population, a dwindling economy and dwindling public resources. Given that they couldn't afford portable toilets this year, I suppose that it was actually a good thing that fewer refreshments were offered along the way.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how they can make a pilgrimage to honor Jesus but then litter and dishonor God's planet?

rev said...

i can only grin with that comment. Oh well, look at it this way. every year they make that wooden cross and toss the past year's cross. Where do they dump that cross? Where else, up there atop the rocky hill and abandon it till it degrades. It's biodegradable anyway.

Anonymous said...

excellent photo! you can see it is indeed foggy and rainy...

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Last year Beautify CNMI volunteers picked up after everyone. We didn't do it on Good Friday this year.

I believe there are volunteers up there right now, Saturday morning, picking up other people's trash.

Weird Elle said...

Thank you Kap for mentioning littering/polluting the environment as one of the seven "new" deadly sins, according to the Vatican.

The 7 original deadly sins and their punishments:

1. Pride - Broken on the wheel
2. Envy - Put in freezing water
3. Gluttony -Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
4. Lust - Smothered in fire and brimstone
5. Anger - Dismembered alive
6. Greed - Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
7. Sloth - Thrown in snake pits

The 7 new sins are a lot less black and white:

1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
2. "Morally dubious" experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

8. Bruce Bateman

Anonymous said...


Bruce A. Bateman said...

#8 noticed that the trash, in all it's splendor, was still up there late Saturday morning with not a soul in sight to pick it up. Nice crowd.

Island Dyke said...

OMG! Numbers 5,6,7 is so hypocritical! I personally know of a house cleaner that cleaned one of their New York head qaurters, they dedicated an entire floor as an apartment that was set up "just in case the pope came to visit" filled with golden goblets etc. Mounds of wealth just sitting collecting dust "just in case"....where is the sharing with the poor? I suppose that is why the message of the burden to carry is frequently visited

Anonymous said...

Here on Saipan, people may not really need to trek to Tapochau for penitence. the high power rates and the high fuel costs are penitence enough.

Anonymous said...

The whole concept of penitence is a silly notion. I'm sure we have many immoral sinners who believe that all they have to do is say "sorry Jesus" and all is forgiven. So what is the downside?

Well break into my house with my family at risk and I'll show you "sinners" the downside. There isn't a cross heavy enough to carry or enough dead saints to worship that will atone your sorry ass.

bradinthesand said...

i saw alan barak and a friend picking up trash while i made the trek up and back.

it was my first good friday trek up the hill, and i noticed that most of the trash was from the empty cups provided by the roadside volunteers.

perhaps it would be better if people simply brought their own water with them up the hill.

i was happy enough to eat the soup, drink the coffee and water provided, though.

my trash found a garbage bag. i don't know why anyone else's wouldn't have.

bradinthesand said...

perhaps better planning....

the mayor's office levels the road prior to the trek. why not line the road with 55gal. drums as well?

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