Photo gallery: Pandemic affects Philippines’ Ash Wednesday tradition

The pandemic has not only affected the lives of Filipinos but their traditional religious practices as well. On Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday, priests sprinkled ashes on the crown of the head of the faithful instead of marking it on the forehead.

Despite health restrictions due to the pandemic, Filipino devotees flocked to churches across the country to observe the start of the Lenten season. Some parishes distributed ashes to people for those who cannot go to church.

“Because of the pandemic, people have learned to recognize and value again the things that truly matter in life, such as the presence of God, quality time with family, personal health care, respect to the environment and compassion to others,” said Father Hans Magdurulang of the San Felipe Neri Church in Mandaluyong City.

The coronavirus infections in the Philippines has already surpassed 550,000, the second highest number in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, with a nationwide death toll of more than 11,500.

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