Dozens of penitents were nailed to crosses in the
Philippines on Friday in an annual re-enactment of the suffering and
death of Jesus Christ.
Hundreds more whipped their backs bloody as penance or thanksgiving throughout the predominantly Catholic country on Good Friday, which marks the day Jesus died on the cross.
The Good Friday rituals are the highlight of Easter celebrations in the Philippines, where more than 80 per cent of the estimated 94 million people are Roman Catholic.
Thousands of devotees and tourists flocked to San Fernando city in Pampanga province, 60 kilometres north of Manila, where more than 30 men had signed up to be nailed to crosses.
Wilfredo Salvador, a 57-year-old fishpond worker, said he began to join the crucifixions seven years ago as thanksgiving "for all the miracles" in his life.
"I also want to atone for my sins," he said after 7.5-centimetre nails were hammered to his palms in the village of San Juan. "God has been good to me and I want to thank him."
Salvador said he will have himself crucified every year for as long as he can: "I will accept whatever the Lord gives me and I will sacrifice as long as my strength allows me."
The Roman Catholic Church frowns on the bloody rituals and has urged devotees to instead participate in masses, vigils and other official celebrations in their parishes.
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