Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flagellants In The Philippines: Lenten Rites

When we lived in the Philippines in the late 70's we experienced a Lenten Ritual that was very memorable. It began during Holy Week when we were driving down into the city next to the Air Force Base. We noticed a man laying on the side of the road. His head was covered in black and some people kicked him as they walked by. We were stunned to see this and confused on why it was happening. The next day we talked to a Filipino friend who explained to us that during Lent ~ especially on Good Friday, Filipino men would lay on the side of the street to be kicked as a punishment by those who passed by, and that there was a procession that took place where men cut their backs with a blade and then whipped their backs with a heavy rope that had several wooden rods attached to the end. The more they bled the better, as they believed that through this ritual their sins were forgiven or divine favors given. We were able to observe this Lenten Rite in the city from the window of our Filipino friend's home on Good Friday. We have never forgotten it.

**We have slides of the Flagellants, so I am using photos I found online and keeping them small so at not to be to disturbing.***
Joel and I have often talked about our experience that Good many years ago. We know that each country is different in how they express their faith, and we were guests in a land that was mostly foreign to us, so we knew little about what this Lenten Rite represented. From our own perspective, we often said we wished we could tell these men that they did not need to beat themselves to have forgiveness of sins. Jesus did all the suffering for us! As Christians we need only ask for forgiveness....and because Christ died for our sins we are forgiven and have eternal life!

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