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Photos: ‘Penitensya’ (A Holy Week devotion in the Philippines)

Through centuries of folk Catholicism in the Philippines, flagellations and crucifixions, dubbed as “penitensya,” have become devotional practices held on Holy Thursday and Good Friday around the country.

Devotees or penitents, especially in the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan, are willingly crucified in imitation of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death. Others carry wooden crosses, crawl on rough pavement, and self-flagellate.

Penitents consider these acts to be mortification of the flesh, and they undertake these to ask forgiveness for sins, to fulfil a “panatà” (vow), or to express gratitude for favors granted. (Photos by Jire Carreon)

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