Friday, 6 April 2007

Not for the Squeamish!

As you are all enjoying an Easter long weekend I'm sure you are aware that it is Holy week - but I'm also sure that no one around you is approaching this holiday with the same religious zeal that we are witnessing here in the Philipines. Everyday there have been re-enactments of the passion of Christ across the country and today, of all days, we decided that we really should see it. We could have taken part in the feet washing, last supper, entering the city on a donkey - anything on any other day - but no - we decide to do it on Good Friday.

So up we went to San Fernando Pampagna and it was soon obvious just how realistic this "re-enactment" was going to be. We followed men with blood dripping down their backs and soaking their trousers as they flagellated themselves with wooden tipped whips. Others carried wooden crosses on their backs and were beaten if they paused to stop. At our destination Roman Centurions whipped 'Jesus' as he made his way to the cross. Pontious Pilate made his declaration and Jesus was nailed to the cross - yes nailed - with real nails - a real hammer - real blood and real pain on his face. Then Judas hung himself - we were very glad that he had a harness on!

However, this was not the end. 7 other Jesuses were in line ready to make their sacrifice too. The first Jesus was brought down with blood gushing out of his hands and rushed to the paramedics. Then the next one lined up. And the next one..... and we had so had enough.

I wondered out loud why these men would volunteer for this painful part and was answered by the guy next to me. Apparently, the men flaying themselves are doing so because they have sinned and are repenting. The first Jesus, on the other hand, had a sick relative in the hospital and was hoping that by following Jesus's example that his prayers would be answered! I think we should all pray for his relative too!

This was all too much for our travelling companion who nearly passed out and had to sit with her head between her legs and was promptly surrounded by locals who wanted to see the crying tourist - did they not realise that there was a man with nails in his hands behind them? Obviously they had seen it all before and she was much more interesting.

Hopefully, that is all the blood I will have to see for the rest of my life. Still haven't been able to stomach lunch - thank goodness we were hungoverless today!

1 comment:

Mike said...

I don't fancy myself a religious man, but I have to hand it to these people - they're nothing if not dedicated to their faith!