As usual, it was a bloody Good Friday in the north of Philipines where, as against the warning of the Catholic Church, fanatics once again engaged in real crucifixions and self brutalisations.
Several persons volunteered to be nailed to wooden crosses while others beat themselves with whips.
The ritual displays of Christian devotion are officially frowned upon by the Catholic church, but they remain commonplace at Easter time in the north of the country.
Large numbers of the country’s 80 million Catholics spend Good Friday at church or with family, but some others go to such extreme lengths to atone for their sins.
Express UK quotes Resty David, 38, a truck driver who has been taking part in the rituals for half his life, as saying that it is a religious vow.
“I will do this every year for as long as I am able,” he said, hoping his act of self-sacrifice would persuade God to cure his brother of cancer.
The bloody rituals have turned into tourist attractions as some tourists stormed the San Juan Village in San Fernando, Pampanga, about 40 miles north of Manila to see the crucifixions.
These rituals are held in defiance of Catholic Church pleas to Christians to spend Lent in quiet prayer and reflection.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines official Father Jerome Secillano said: “The crucifixion and death of Jesus are more than enough to redeem humanity from the effects of sins.
“They are once in a lifetime events that need not be repeated.
“Holy Week is not the time to showcase man’s propensity for entertainment and Pharisaical tendencies.”
The Church however okays passion plays, which are simply dramatic displays of the way of the cross. Real acts of flogging and crucifixions are not accepted.
Many of such passion plays were held across Nigeria and other countries with significant populations of Catholics.