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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Getting their signals crossed

Like chocolate bunnies, baskets full of Peeps, and hiding dyed eggs, one of the annual Easter rituals is for devout Fillipinos (and others) to nail themselves to a cross. (And if you think there's something a bit strange about the mixture of pagan fertility imagery with the Christian resurrection story, you're not alone.)

Although I do admire the religious fervor of those willing to actually nail their limbs to a piece of wood, I think that there are better ways to emulate Jesus. How about by performing a selfless act that benefits the poor, hungry, homeless, or gravely ill? Wouldn't that be something that truly commemorates the holiday?

Below is one account of the crucifixions from the Washinton Post, just to prove I'm not making it up:

Filipino Devotees Nailed to Cross
By JOEAL CALUPITAN
The Associated Press

SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines -- Seven devotees were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in a northern Philippine village where the rites drew thousands of tourists and spectators.

The Lenten ritual is opposed by religious leaders in the Philippines _ Southeast Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. But it has persisted to become one of the country's most-awaited summer attractions in San Fernando City's San Pedro Cutud village.

The devotees' palms and feet were attached to wooden crosses with 4-inch nails soaked in alcohol to prevent infection after a nearly mile-long walk to the mound, each carrying a wooden cross on their backs.

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