It’s that time of the year. But if you’re thinking about eating chocolate eggs and Peeps, you’re getting the Easter spirit completely wrong.
That at least appears to be the sentiment of hundreds of devout Catholics in the Philippines, who spent Good Friday self-flagellating and nailing a bunch of people to the cross — a pretty literal reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion, which the Catholic Church has frowned upon for years.
The annual ritual, which draws crowds of spectators to the streets of San Fernando, a city 50 miles north of Manila, feels like the movies. Except, it’s all real — straight from the Roman costumes and down to the real nails being hammered into real human hands.
Those who volunteered to be crucified — 20 people this year, including one Danish visitor — hung on the crosses for about 10 minutes, before being treated by nearby medics.
Some people get really into it. Danilo Ramos told Reuters it was his 23rd time being crucified.
"I will do it as long as my body will allow me," he said, "I hope God will see my sacrifice and take good care of my family."
"Penance does not mean you hurt yourself,” Aniceto Paciano, San Fernando’s archbishop, said of the gruesome celebration. “Because your body is a temple that houses the spirit."
But those watching —and joining — the gory celebration don’t really seem to care.
"It was a great experience between me and God," Lasse Spang Olsen, the lone non-Filipino participant in this year’s crucifixion, told Reuters. "It was great. It was fun."
And “fun” is exactly what these videos and images look like:
Filipino Catholics commemorated Jesus's crucifixion by doing some nailing of their own.
Self-flagellation, by comparison, seems almost too tame. The video below shows blood-soaked penitents whipping themselves while parading through the streets of San Antonio in Guagua, a village near San Fernando.
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