Faithful re-enact crucifixion of Christ

PHILIPPINES - Catholic penitents in the Philippines carried out their traditional re-enactment of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday - the day that he was crucified according to the Christian faith.

Dozens of men, faces shrouded by scarves and heads crowned with thorny vines, struggled around the streets of the village of San Pedro Cutud, in Pampanga province.  Some volunteers were then nailed to crosses in a re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion.

"It's intriguing and fascinating what makes people do something like this, how you can believe so much that you make yourself suffer to that extent," said Dita Tittesass a tourist from Denmark.

Organizers said that being crucified allowed devotees to repent of any sins, pray for a sick relative or fulfill a vow.

The penitents had their palms and feet attached to the crosses with 10-centimetre (four-inch) nails, soaked in alcohol to prevent infection. 

One of those taking part in the re-enactment was Ruben Enaje, who was nailed to the cross for the 27th time.  The 52-year-old commercial sign maker said it was his way of thanking God for surviving a fall while he was working as a construction worker.

The Lenten ritual is opposed by religious leaders in the Philippines, Southeast Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation.  But it has persisted to become one of the country's most-awaited events in the region, with the rite drawing thousands of tourists and spectators to the village, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of the capital, Manila.

Good Friday is part of the Christian Holy Week which ends with Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead.

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