MANILA, Philippines – Nails met flesh and blood once more in Barangay San Pedro Cutud where devotees reenacted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, April 14.
The village in San Fernando, Pampanga, drew thousands of Catholics and tourists where locals dressed as Roman soldiers nailed to wooden crosses the palms and feet of Cutud devotees. (READ: Mimicking Christ’s suffering: The mandarame of Pampanga)
This was Ruben Enaje’s 31st time to be crucified. The 57-year-old’s annual devotion began in 1986, a year after he survived a fall from a building. His crucifixion is his way of thanking God for saving him. (READ: The devotion of Ben Kristo)
In the crucifixion rites that begin early Friday morning, alcohol is rubbed onto the skin of those to be crucified before sterilized nails are hammered into their palms and feet.
On their way to the hill where the crucifixions take place, the devotees are accompanied by barefoot flagellants who use ropes tied with bamboo sticks to whip their backs.
Catholics and tourists from all over the country and from abroad flock to witness these yearly reenactments, a grisly yet fascinating reminder of the many forms faith may take.
Catholic Church officials, however, have discouraged extreme forms of piety like voluntary crucifixion and self-mutilation.
The San Fernando local government says these reenactments are regarded as a part of Pampanga’s and the city’s cultural heritage.
Reenactments of Christ’s crucifixion in the village began in 1958 but the first actual crucifixion during the re-enactment took place 4 years after, in 1962. – Rappler.com