Flagellants, dramatic reenactments for Philippines Holy Week

Manila, Apr 6 (EFE).- The Philippines celebrated Holy Thursday with flagellants and dramatic reenactments of the passion of Christ countrywide before the largest population of Catholics in Asia.

In Bulacan province, north of Manila, flagellants lashed themselves with bamboo-tipped whips until their backs were bloody, and passion reenactments included the penitent’s crucifixion on the cross.

The floggings also took place in the province of Cavite, where this tradition goes back to the years after World War II, when after the defeat of Japan, fishermen were able to return to fishing and thanked their luck by simulating the passion of Christ during the Holy Week.

On these days there are also parades of images of Christ, the Virgin and other figures from the New Testament in processions, called “karosas” or “andas” in Tagalog.

Another tradition on Good Thursday and Friday in the former Spanish colony is the “Visit to the Church,” which consists of a tour of seven temples, which this year is carried out with practically no Covid-19 restrictions.

The famous crucifixions of San Pedro Cutud, in the province of Pampanga, will take place Friday after three years of cancellations due to the global pandemic.

Philippine penitent Ruben Enaje, 63, will be nailed on Good Friday for the 34th time to a wooden cross, with which he emulates the passion of Christ.

“I will offer this to people who have been affected by Covid-19, and I pray to our Lord that this disease will suddenly disappear because many people have suffered from the pandemic,” Enaje said in a March interview with Philippine News.

Enaje will drag a heavy 37-kilogram cross for 2 kilometers through the streets of San Pedro de Cutud, before the palms of his hands are pierced to be crucified.

Crucifixions are not sanctioned by the Catholic hierarchy, but they have become the best-known face of Philippine Holy Week, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

With more than 90 million faithful, the Philippines is the country with the most Catholics in Asia – more than 80 percent of its population – and third in the world, only behind Brazil and Mexico.

The suspension of rites and processions due to Covid-19, in 2020 and 2021 strictly and partially in 2022, was something unusual in the Philippines since World War II, something that did not even happen during the years dictator Ferdinand Marcos ruled under martial law. EFE


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