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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019

VIDEO: Men crucified in Philippines' annual Easter rituals

Filipino Catholics have whipped their backs and nailed themselves to crosses in an annual commemoration of Christ’s death.

Filipino hooded penitents flagellate themselves during Holy Thursday rituals to atone for sins and mark the death of Jesus Christ.
Filipino hooded penitents flagellate themselves during Holy Thursday rituals to atone for sins and mark the death of Jesus Christ.

CATHOLICS IN the Philippines have begun marking Holy Week with their traditional re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus.

People fulfilling the role of Jesus whipped their backs and nailed themselves to crosses, in an Easter ritual that persists despite disapproval from the Church itself.

Foreign and local tourists flocked to the outskirts of the city of San Fernando, a 90-minute drive from Manila, to see the annual spectacle where a Christian “passion play” is taken to its blood-soaked extreme.

In a vacant plot of land beneath the burning sun in the San Juan district, long nails were driven through the hands and feet of four men who took turns hanging on a cross as attendants prayed for them.

Elsewhere in the city, hooded men lashed their bloody backs with cloth and bamboo whips, doing penance for their sins while spraying onlookers with flecks of blood.

(Warning: The video below depicts some of the crucifixion re-enactments, including footage that may not be suitable for some viewers.)

(YouTube: videotravelnews)

Devotees commit to undergo the mock crucifixion in exchange for a gift from God such as the healing of a sick loved one.

“I am used to it already,” said Alex Laranang, 58, who was nailed up for the 14th time.

It is just like a needle going through my hand. After two days, I am ready to go back to work again.

So far, he said, his suffering has been rewarded as his wife and children enjoy good health and he continues to make a good living.

“I am doing this for my family, so that no one will get sick and that my livelihood will continue. I am just a poor man. But I don’t ask God to make me rich,” he said.

He and the three other men grimaced as the nails were pounded into their hands, but they fixed their eyes on the sky and appeared to be in a trance as they each hung on the cross for up to 10 minutes.

After they were taken down, the men hobbled off to a medical tent as Western tourists snapped pictures.

- © AFP, 2013

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