In Pictures: Re-enacting Jesus' crucifixion

Easter celebrations in one Philippine village include re-enacting the events leading up to the death of Jesus.


Angeles City, Philippines - Each year on Good Friday, the village of Lourdes in the Philippines performs the "Passion play", a re-enactment of the events leading up to Jesus Christ's execution. The public performance concludes with the actual nailing of three penitents to wooden crosses atop a hill.

The event draws thousands of spectators - both foreign and local - to these extreme displays of devotion.

Hundreds of hooded penitents flagellate themselves with whips and bamboo sticks, or carry huge, heavy crosses as a sign of religious devotion. Even children imitate the penitents with their own whips, instilling the tradition in the next generation.

The participants, who travel from across the country, believe that flagellation and crucifixions are ways to redeem their sins.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) strongly discourages such practises, reminding the faithful to express their love for God by sharing with the poor instead.

"This week is holy not because of the shame and humiliation that Jesus endured. This week is holy because God filled this week with infinite love," CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a message posted on his Facebook page.