Many Christian denominations observe holy week but I would say Catholics in the Philippines have the most interesting activities during this holiday.

For most Christians the Holy week is a time to reflect Christs’ life on earth, his sacrifice, his death, his burial and his victory over death (resurrection).

Commonly Christians do fast during holy week, those that do not fast, avoid eating meat and others try to repent for their sins and make atonement to God for their wrong doings and fulfil whatever promises they made for all the answered prayers they get. But some Filipinos do have their unique take on this holiday.

Traditional Practices in the Philippines:
Whip self (self flagellation) and walk bare foot: Some people covered their faces when they do this so that no one will recognize them and if you try to look at their faces, their sins will transfer to you. I am not scaring anybody! Don’t try to look.

The penitent whip themselves with strings or rope tied with bamboo strips or other kinds of wood that can inflict pain and make them bleed.

People claim once they wash their body-pain will go away and their wound will be healed.

Walk barefoot to church:
People walk miles away from their house barefoot not because they cannot afford to buy slippers or shoes but they will do this as a way of seeking forgiveness or being sorry for their sins.

Scoot on butts to church:
This must be difficult to do; scooting on your butt to church. The roads in the Philippines are not all paved-so imagine yourself doing this on the stoney rugged road. Either way, this is how they think they can obtain mercy from God so every year they have to do this (butts will probably like you shredded a block of cheese).

Crawl on knees to church:
Other people will choose to crawl on knees to go to church. They do this to also show their wish to be forgiven.

Sideways: there are people that do this when they want to curse someone. They crawl on knees to church and then pray for whatever bad things they wish they want to fall on a person and then light a candle. This act can be done during holy week or anytime.

Carry the cross and be nailed to the cross:
Many individuals do this every year to fulfill an oath they made to God for the prayers answered, example when they pray for healing for a loved with a promise that if God will grant their request they will subject themselves to be crucified every year.

As they carry the cross once in awhile someone will beat them. The weight of the cross that they carry varies, sometimes they weight 100 lbs, sometimes 280 lbs with a crown made from barbed wire.

Other things they do on Good Friday:

This is also a time to test the power of the amulets. Many people make different kinds of amulets from different unique objects and with the Latin prayers these objects are said to have the power to protect the lives of the bearer. Even bullets and swords cannot penetrate skin when you have amulets.

The person that says the prayer should have a pure heart because this can also affect the power of the amulets.

This man has 30 lbs of amulets hanging on his chest
The testing of the power of the amulets usually takes place every Good Friday.


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  1. Wow! Very dedicated to the extreme. Must be painful!