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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Filipinos Nailed to Cross in Good Friday Rites

Filipinos travel to San Fernando to be nailed to a cross every Good Friday, in an annual ritual rejected by the Church. Participants first gather in a nearby village, where they dress in robes and tin crowns, then carry wooden crosses on their backs to a mound in San Fernando, where men nail their hands and feet to the crosses. The crucifixion rite is also performed in other provinces in the Philippines, while other Filipinos march through the streets, flagellating themselves with sticks tied to ropes.

While some believe experiencing Jesus' pain brings them closer to God, others do it in hopes of culling God's favor. However, Church officials say the real reason the villages do this is to increase tourism. San Fernando drew some 10,000+ spectators, including many foreigners, who were not allowed to take part in the ritual. A spokesperson said foreigners are no longer allowed to participate because a foreign film crew recently took part only to film it and "make fun of it."

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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