8 Chilling Photos of People in the Philippines Crucifying Themselves on Good Friday


(Editor's Note: This post contains graphic images. View with discretion.)

On Good Friday, devout Catholics in the Philippines acknowledged the suffering of Jesus Christ through their own very real suffering, by driving nails into their hands and feet in gory self-inflicted crucifixions.

Known as Maleldo, the annual festival began early on the morning of Good Friday when participants received beatings from members of their communities. Neighbors, wives and even young children lined up with bamboo and rope whips, lashing the backs of their barefooted loved ones as they dutifully retraced the steps of Christ.

Thousands of onlookers act as active participants in the event, taking pictures and cheering on the penitents. Aid workers, dressed as Roman centurions, stand nearby and wait to assist the wounded.

The participants believe that their actions, which also include self-flagellation with wooden flails, are viewed by God as penance for their sins. Though the hub of the festival is the Central Luzon province of Pampanga, many other cities dotted throughout the country also participate in the graphic displays of faith. 

Those wounded during crucifixion say that their wounds can take weeks to fully heal, but claim it's a small price to pay for receiving and giving thanks for the favor of God.

See some of the powerful images below:

Jay Directo/Getty Images
Aaron Favila/AP
Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Read more: How Good Friday Is Celebrated Around The World — In Photos