Cross and Whip: The Bloody Ritual in Pampanga
Pampanga, Philippines (2014) - The humble village of Lourdes in Angeles City, is just one of the villages in Pampanga where penitents engaged in an extreme bloody form of ritual, which re-enacts the sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus Christ during Good Friday.
This bizarre practice has attracted both local and foreign tourists were they swarmed these villages to see this bloody religious ritual. Even street vendors did not let this tradition passed, they took the opportunity to install booths to sell food, refreshments, and even miniature whips as souvenirs.
Penitents are locally known as “magdarame”, lashed their own backs with makeshift bamboo whips, called burilyos, while others carry a large wooden cross on their backs. Blood splattered everywhere as they continue to march the streets of the village under the scorching sun.
Passion play was also performed, wherein an actor, portraying Christ, was dragged on the streets by men costumed as “Centurions” and eventually he was nailed on the cross on top of a man-made Cavalry in the village.
Despite of Catholic church leaders’ rejection on this violent forms of penitence, devotees still believe and continue to practice this belief to atone their sins, ask for miracles, give thanks to their blessings from God, and just to fulfill their religious vows.