April 24, 2011

Semana Santa

For those of you who have weak stomachs, I say
If you don't like to see blood, SKIP THIS POST.

Here we go...

(ALL PHOTOS POSTED HERE, as well as some additional information,

As some of you might know, I grew up in the Philippines - where most
citizens are devout Christians, mostly Catholics.
So, as a young girl, I grew up watching these men walk by our 
streets on Good Friday every April doing their penance
during the Catholics' celebration of the "Semana Santa"
or Holy Week in the Philippines.
(the week leading up to Easter Sunday).
I've never really understood why they do this, though.
Probably just their way of showing their devotion.

Needless to say, the men's procession is the only thing I've seen my whole life,
although I knew they were also doing something else afterwards.

. . .

So, after their procession,
they leave their crowns of "thorns" (they are actually just leaves) 
upon their arrival to the Cathedral.

And then they let their friends beat them some more
as they lie facing down on the ground, 
as what kuya (big brother) Paul described it as their "last act of penance."
Those whips are made of stick and are just used to beat the backs
of the pennants and spread the blood all over, 
not to give them wounds or anything.

Kuya Paul wrote in his description on this picture  that the Catholic Church
"condemns this practice and does not let the devotees in"
that's why the front entrance of the Church was barricaded and this man (below)
would just have to do his penance in front of the cross
displayed outside by the church.

After their penance, the main passion play takes place where people carry their cross
to the hill (wherever that is - somewhere in Cutud [in my province]), I guess.
Actually in the past, this was only done in my province.
But recently other cities decided to make their own play as well.

These men were on their way to the hill:

Here you can see the three crosses on the hill at Cutud:

Then comes the raising of the men who were nailed t0 the cross

They were really nailed to the palms of their hands

Kuya Paul wrote on his description that this man (below) has been
nailed to the cross (according to the man himself) for the second time in his life.

Like I said, I don't know why they do this.
And like what kuya Paul wrote, the Catholic Church condemns this.
So I don't know why they still keep doing it.
But it's been a tradition in my country.


  1. Okay when I was a kid all these scared the crap out of me.I would literally hide behind my grandma.

  2. It bothers me that people try to do stuff like this because I see it as a way of trying to undermine Jesus Christ's crucifixion. If what they're doing is trying to show Christ that they "understand" what its like, they're missing the whole point. Jesus Christ didn't die to make people feel sorry for Him. He did it to save us. And the best way we can show our "penance" to Jesus is by living our lives the way He wants us to.

  3. I agree.. My brothers and parents always told me that they didn't have to do this anymore because Christ has done it so that we don't have to go through it. It wasn't a way to show penance to him...

  4. We really have a lot to do to let them know. :)


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