Easter in the Philippines – level 3
Nailed to the cross, Catholic devotees in the Philippines re-enact Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday. Clearly in agony, these believers endure the pain of nails hammered into their hands and feet as a sign of faith and part of a longstanding tradition in the country where Catholics make up 80% of the population.
Seen here going through the ordeal is the oldest devotee to the crucifixion experience. Having gone through the rite for 30 years, he plans to retire soon, although not completely. And the spectacle attracts hundreds of curious visitors each year.
"I never thought in a million years I'd actually see someone live get crucified. It's quite shocking to see this happen... but it's a sight to behold because this is a holy week."
Every year, the crucifixion rituals take place during the Holy Week, an eight-day festival, which ends on Easter Sunday. Penitents recite prayers under the sweltering heat before being brought down and taken to a clinic for treatment.
But the Catholic Church has deemed self-crucifixion as a misinterpretation of faith, saying that rather prayer and repentance is a sufficient observation of Lent.
Difficult words: devotee (a fan, a fanatic), agony (extreme pain), endure (to go through something difficult), ordeal (a painful, difficult experience), rite (a tradition), spectacle (a show), behold (to look at), penitent (a person who seeks forgiveness from God), sweltering (uncomfortably hot), deem (to call something), repentance (repenting – feeling sad and sorry about the bad things you have done), Lent (the time before Easter).
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