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Senakulo
April 2, 2010 1:00 PM   Subscribe

On Good Friday, Filipino Catholics participate in a reenactment of the life and death of Jesus known as a Senakulo. For some, the practice includes self-mortification and nailing to an actual cross. Church leaders have rejected the practice: one bishop calls crucifixions a "tourist activity."

Pictures of Good Friday celebrations from around the world. Video of self-mortification and crucifixion in the Philippines (Warning: Contains violent imagery and blood). Behind the scenes at a Senakulo production (SFW).
posted by l33tpolicywonk (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jesus backstage looks like a happy Jesus.

I like Happy Jesus.
posted by yeloson at 1:02 PM on April 2, 2010


I lived in the PI for a few years and always tried to avoid going out anywhere on Good Friday. One year I had to get to Clark Air Base and managed to get stuck on the side of the road waiting for a bus while a group of penitents walked by carrying crosses and being whipped. It is an image that will stay with me forever.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:05 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haven't crucifixions always been a tourist activity?
posted by HumanComplex at 1:09 PM on April 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seems reasonable to me.
posted by adipocere at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2010


Tangents:

Last year's plans to re-enact the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection, at a nightclub in Wexford on Easter Saturday night were scrapped due to an overwhelming number of objections. The venue had planned a theme night for their Easter Sunday club which was to include a depiction of Christ on the cross being brought through the club and to culminate with the resurrection of Christ.

Easter: a Twitter Reenactment practice is going well, according to the blog.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2010


I hope they all had tetanus shots.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:26 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ!
posted by d1rge at 1:37 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anybody wants to go through those links and highlight the grossest stuff I am sure somebody on the site (not I, I swear) would appreciate it very much. Some of us are very busy, you see.
posted by bukvich at 1:42 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm often surprised at how easily people warp Christianity into a weird death cult. I thought the purpose was to emulate and celebrate his (His) life, not his death?
posted by explosion at 1:43 PM on April 2, 2010


huh, crazy. Around here people walk to El Santuario de Chimayo. A few carry giant crosses and such, but it's mostly a glowsticks-and-waterbottles sort of pilgrimage... better for you than self-flagellation, at any rate.
posted by vorfeed at 1:45 PM on April 2, 2010


If anybody wants to go through those links and highlight the grossest stuff I am sure somebody on the site (not I, I swear) would appreciate it very much. Some of us are very busy, you see.

The NSFW video I linked in the OP is what you seek.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:50 PM on April 2, 2010


Mars Hill Church in Seattle has pulled this stunt. This year they've got sort of an extreme bondage theme for Good Friday.

Torture-tainment.
posted by gurple at 1:50 PM on April 2, 2010


Church leaders have rejected the practice: one bishop calls crucifixions a "tourist activity."

I have to say... I'd feel a wee bit uncomfortable watching someone be crucified if I were on vacation in the Philippines.
posted by zarq at 1:54 PM on April 2, 2010


i wish i was there only for all the lechon they're gonna have when it's over.
posted by lester at 1:55 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm often surprised at how easily people warp Christianity into a weird death cult. I thought the purpose was to emulate and celebrate his (His) life, not his death?

No way. Christianity is all about the death. Heaven is way better than life on Earth, as long as you get there.

Seriously, though, Christianity was built on the "end of times" idea from the beginning, and death is really a gateway to a better life. That's why Easter is supposed to be the more important holiday (until jolly old Saint Nick came around and started handing out goodies).
posted by hiteleven at 2:25 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, this explains the odd parade that went past my apartment earlier today.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:40 PM on April 2, 2010


No way. Christianity is all about the death.

With cannibalism, even. And a zombie!
posted by dilettante at 2:50 PM on April 2, 2010


Easter isn't celebrated on Friday, the day of Jesus' death. It's celebrated on Sunday the day of his resurrection. It's not about death, but death being overcome. There is a difference.

And while Christians have sought to emulate Christ for nearly 2000 years, I really don't think this is the best way to do it.
posted by Atreides at 2:50 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Easter isn't celebrated on Friday, the day of Jesus' death. It's celebrated on Sunday the day of his resurrection. It's not about death, but death being overcome. There is a difference.

Well, okay, but later saints were celebrated on their death days, not their "resurrection days". Only Jesus gets to resurrect. For the rest of us, death and entry into heaven are one and the same (minus the time in purgatory, if you believe in that). So death is something to be celebrated, since Jesus overcame it for us, or so it goes.
posted by hiteleven at 3:14 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm often surprised at how easily people warp Christianity into a weird death cult. I thought the purpose was to emulate and celebrate his (His) life, not his death?
posted by explosion at 4:43 PM on April 2



honey, catholicism is a death cult. i'd quote bataille, but am being a bit lazy today :)
posted by liza at 3:48 PM on April 2, 2010


I didn't make it to the crucifixions, but I did sing the Pasyon with my Filipino host family and watch uncomfortably as a young man carrying his cross stopped to flagellate himself in front of me--me being a white guy with long hair and a beard who was constantly (jokingly) identified as Jesus.

That same Holy Weekend we were visiting my family's cousin's house, and the youngest child ran shrieking from the room, sure that she'd just seen Jesus Christ reincarnate. Despite her mother's best reassurance she never got used to me.
posted by ropeladder at 3:52 PM on April 2, 2010


As long as they keep their hands off the little boys I don't care what the hell these people do.
posted by rocket88 at 4:17 PM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


To be fair, atheists often do nothing for Easter.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:20 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sacrifice and martyrdom is a big and meaningful aspect of many cultures, irrespective of religion. I think that's the case with Filipino culture. It's a culture that respects and understands the value of martyrdom in a different fashion than, say, your typical American.

When Christianity (in the form of Catholicism) was integrated with Filipino culture, some aspects of Filipino culture that coincided with Catholicism were sort of amplified. The martyrdom/sacrifice being one of them, and matri-centric society being another aspect (there is a much larger "deification" of the Virgin Mary in Filipino culture than in other Catholic cultures).

People being able to emulate and suffer the same as Christ is an honor to those that do it. I mean, if you're a big fan of John Muir, you might think it's really cool to hike the same paths he did in Yosemite. If you live and die by the teachings of Christ, then you might think it's really cool to suffer the same way he did.

This practice gets media attention every year here in the U.S., because it's so graphic. It seems excessive and barbaric. Then again, nearly every Catholic church has a huge graphic effigy of Christ up on a cross being crucified, and lots of people carry around crucifixes on chains on their necks. The gruesome and graphic fact of crucifixion is kind of a normal part of Christian life, so I'm not sure that emulations of it in the PI should really be gawked at as some sort of weird spectacle.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:47 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


This practice gets media attention every year here in the U.S., because it's so graphic. It seems excessive and barbaric. Then again, nearly every Catholic church has a huge graphic effigy of Christ up on a cross being crucified, and lots of people carry around crucifixes on chains on their necks. The gruesome and graphic fact of crucifixion is kind of a normal part of Christian life, so I'm not sure that emulations of it in the PI should really be gawked at as some sort of weird spectacle.

Well, that's like saying that owning Saw on DVD and actually carrying out the scenes in the film are one and the same. Having said that, of course we shouldn't judge. But I don't think you can tell people not to gawk a bit at people nailing themselves to crosses. It sounds like it's a pretty shocking experience to the outsider, from what leftcoastbob posted.

Having said that, to each his own and all that.
posted by hiteleven at 7:50 PM on April 2, 2010


This is so stupid. Christianity was forced upon these poor people by the Spaniards, and it just boggles my mind to see how badly these people are brainwashed.
posted by MattMangels at 8:44 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it's like Burning Man, but with less desert?
posted by Evilspork at 9:54 PM on April 2, 2010


This practice gets media attention every year here in the U.S., because it's so graphic. It seems excessive and barbaric. Then again, nearly every Catholic church has a huge graphic effigy of Christ up on a cross being crucified, and lots of people carry around crucifixes on chains on their necks. The gruesome and graphic fact of crucifixion is kind of a normal part of Christian life, so I'm not sure that emulations of it in the PI should really be gawked at as some sort of weird spectacle.

People carry crucifixes around and wear chains on their necks because it is a weird spectacle. It wouldn't be such a powerful image if the execution were more ordinary.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:08 AM on April 3, 2010


Torture-tainment.

Like Entourage.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:13 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haven't crucifixions always been a tourist activity?

Well there's a new paradigm for theologians: New Testament as God's one-star TripAdvisor review of Earth.
posted by condour75 at 7:38 AM on April 3, 2010


As for service: the foot-washing was pretty good, but early birds be warned: before the cock crows, you may as well not even be there. And be prepared for shortages of wine, loaves and fishes.
posted by condour75 at 8:04 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unofficial Catholicism is really cool stuff.
posted by grobstein at 8:28 AM on April 3, 2010


This is so stupid. Christianity was forced upon these poor people by the Spaniards, and it just boggles my mind to see how badly these people are brainwashed.

What an ignorant thing to say.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:21 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Whereas for the Spaniards, the idea of Christianity just sprung up in each of their heads simultaneously. A sort of memetic immaculate conception, if you will.
posted by condour75 at 12:24 PM on April 3, 2010


What an ignorant thing to say.

No, you're right, "rational and charming" might've been a better way to describe them and their experience.
posted by disillusioned at 4:22 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mel Gibson: "Fuck yeah!"
posted by bwg at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2010


This is so stupid. Christianity was forced upon these poor people by the Spaniards, and it just boggles my mind to see how badly these people are brainwashed.

So whatever religion they followed before the Spanish arrived was pristine and pure, correct?
posted by hiteleven at 8:09 PM on April 3, 2010


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