Filipinos reenact crucifixion in grisly Easter celebration (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The act of mock-crucifixion has been practiced for decades in the Philippines, despite strong condemnations by the Catholic Church. The morbid celebrations take place in the city of San Fernando, 67 kilometers north of Manila, where the so-called ‘passion play’ is enacted every year.
Tourists and worshippers looked on as 18 men had nails driven
through their palms, and were then hoisted up onto crosses in a
re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ.
"I am used to it already," AFP quoted Alex Laranang as
saying, who was nailed up for his 14th time.
Two of the men who were mock-crucified had to be removed from
the celebration to receive medical attention. The religious
devotees who participate in the practice believe that the act is a
way of atoning for their sins, or of healing a loved one.
In the village of San Pedro
Cutud, religious devotees marched the streets while whipping their
backs with bamboo sticks, spraying passers-by with flecks of
The act of mock-crucifixion
has for many years been a bone of contention between the Catholic
Church and the zealous devotees who take part in the gruesome
"The bishops have been
saying for a long time they disapprove of this. But people make
such vows. They sacrifice themselves for others," Father
Francis Lucas, executive director of the Philippine bishops' media
office said to AFP.
The Catholic Church now
discourages the practice of self-flagellation in favor of less
"We have so many crosses
to bear in life. We don't need to bear a real one," said Father
Lucas, condemning the use of the festival to attract tourism to the
The Philippines remains a stronghold for the Catholic Church where it maintains considerable influence. Abortion and divorce remain illegal in the country largely because of the Catholic Church.