Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Holy Week in the Philippines - Cutud, Pampanga
As we near the end of the Holy Week, we can see news and tv reporters covering different events in the Philippines during the Lenten Season. One event, which is famous not just in the country but overseas as well is the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Cutud, Pampanga. People who have a yearly "panata" or "promise" to be nailed to the cross are the center of attention of tourists, reporters and writers. Reporters would interview the people before they are nailed to the cross and are asked why would they make these kinds of sacrifices even though the church are against it. Some said that they make the sacrifice to give thanks after God answered their prayers or they are asking for a miracle to happen. They say that being nailed to the cross is just a small sacrifice compared to the blessings or answered prayers they received from God.
Being nailed to the cross before is just practiced by males, but i remember last year or two years back, a woman decided to join and let herself be nailed too. It was covered by a local television channel and I saw a her hands pierced by 3-4 inch nails. It was really a disturbing sight. I could imagine the pain she felt. People were really concerned that after she was taken down from the cross, she received first aid immediately and was interviewed by a tv reporter. She was asked how she felt and if she would repeat the ordeal next year. She said it was painful but she thinks she can do it next year. So this year, we may actually see her again. In fact most of her male counterparts have been nailed to the cross 5 or more times (i heard a guy was nailed 12 times) and she believes that if a man can do it, so can she.
For ordinary people like me, honestly, it's difficult to sacrifice. It's hard to sacrifice what you love to do everyday and abstain from your indulgence. Not eating meat is an effort for me, but i try to abstain even just for the Lenten Season. The church sent a message for people to sacrifice this Holy Week by avoiding using mobile phones, computers, tvs and music gadgets and spend the time by praying and reflection. Can we do it? We can at least try. Just try to remember people in Cutud, Pampanga who sacrifice their health to show gratitude and faith to our Creator.