Pictures show some Catholics in the Philippines nailing themselves to crosses in a gruesome Good Friday reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ.
Hundreds of tourists watched in shock as actors dressed as Roman soldiers hammered four-inch nails through the hands and feet of a Filipino into a wooden cross for the 33rd time.
The gory display of devotion, which the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines looks down upon, draws tourists to the province of Pampanga, north of the capital, year after year.
Barefoot penitents also whip themselves as a form of penance. German tourist Johann Tenken said: “I thought they wouldn’t be nailed but they were really nailed, and it was for me a great event to see it live.”
Devotees, including 58-year old Ruben Enaje who has performed the act 33 times, believe their penance will wash away their sins, cure illness and lead to blessings.
Enaje was among the four people who were nailed to crosses in the village, including a woman taking part for the 17th time.
The crucifixions were the most extreme display of faith this mainly Catholic country, where millions were praying and fasting ahead of the Easter weekend.
Five other Filipinos were nailed to crosses in two other villages in Pampanga. Spectator Bianca Yao said: “At the end of the day, you have to respect the people doing this because that’s devotion.”
Christians believe Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of humanity and rose from the dead two days later.
Photo Credit: Getty