Catholics in Philippines mark Holy Week with self-flagellation ritual
MABALACAT CITY, Philippines - Catholics in the northern Philippine province of Pampanga, many bare-chested and hooded, practice self-flagellation in the sweltering heat in the week before Easter to commemorate the suffering of Jesus Christ.
The devotees tie a rope around their arms and legs and cut their back with a blade before marching barefoot for hours and repeatedly striking their backs with bamboo whips. Other Catholics, some wearing black or red robes and face masks, carry wooden crosses.
Although the Catholic Church does not approve of self-flagellation, many faithful in the predominately Catholic Philippines perform the punishment in the run-up to Easter on March 27
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