For many Christians, Holy Week is an important holiday commemorating the life, teachings, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated differently across the world and perhaps no other is as bizarre as how it’s done in the Philippines.
A predominantly Catholic country, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are considered national holidays in the Philippines. This means private businesses and government agencies suspend work and people return to their home provinces to commemorate Holy Week.
The weird thing, however, is the fact that some devotees engage in self-flagellation to imitate the sufferings of Christ – to the point of even getting crucified!
As you can imagine, it’s really gruesome and bloody! Check out the photos below and see for yourself.
Disclaimer: these images are really graphic.
Taken in San Fernando, Pampanga, this photo shows a penitent lying on the ground during Good Friday – doing the strange ritual.
Self-flagellation is done by devotees during Lenten in the hopes of atoning for their sins.
In some instances, razorblade is used on their backs to inflict pain and suffering.
This male penitent in Mandaluyong City even has a tattoo of Jesus Christ on his back.
In Mabalacat, this devotee touches a cross while praying and doing the self-flagellation rites.
Meanwhile, these flagellants are being hit by a plank while lying on the pavement.
Tied in ropes and hit by sticks, this male penitent is reenacting the brutal suffering of Christ.
These self-flagellants go inside a Catholic church in Mandaluyong City to pray and repent of their sins.
A bloody Maundy Thursday for these men who whipped their backs with wooden flails.
All for the purpose of experiencing the sufferings of Christ – at least in some degree.
Catholic Church leaders have repeatedly spoken against the practice but hundreds of Filipinos still do it every year.