Aaaand it’s Holy Week!
Some will open their houses to host the reading of the pasyón, while others will hit the road and try to visit the seven churches on their list of Visita Iglesia. Others will celebrate the Lenten season by joining candle-lit church processions while some of our brave brothers from Pampanga will repent for their sins by nailing themselves on a cross. Aray.
And if you think blood-filled penitensyas and cringing crucifixions are the only extreme Holy Week traditions that we have, you couldn't be more wrong. Some accounts say that a town in Antique commemorates the Holy Week by burning an effigy of Judas fitted with a giant penis! There's also those anting-anting fanatics, who climb up sacred mountains like Banahaw and Makiling between Good Friday and Black Saturday to perform their rituals to strengthen their amulets.
It’s a good thing though that we’re not alone in this department. In fact, there are a couple of countries with customs way weirder than ours!
The Nazarenos of Spain
No, this is nothing like Quiapo's Black Nazarene. “Nazarenos” are the penitential robe that a hermano (brother) uses every time they participate in a procession during Semana Santa. They walk the streets barefoot and some even put themselves in shackles and chains to show deeper penance.
On the other hand, the music just made them totally harmless. Thanks, background music!
Whipping Easter Monday in Czech Republic and Slovakia
Girls from Slovakia and Czech Republic expect a (mild) beating everytime Easter comes, courtesy of grinning boys and their decorative whips! They believe that whipping a girl during Easter ensures health and fertility. Now, we know where to go next Easter!
So how do the girls react? Watch:
A Very Wet Easter Monday in Hungary!
For centuries, Hungarians have celebrated the day after Easter Sunday by splashing the lucky ladies dressed in traditional clothing with buckets of water.
Pot Smashing in Greece
Sparta may be long gone but these Greeks still love smashing things. During Black Saturday, Greeks, especially in the town of Corfu, throw clay pots outside their windows and balconies believing it’ll ward off evil spirits.
Kite-Flying Festival in Bermuda Islands
Bermudians celebrate Good Friday by flying homemade kites. The tradition began when a local teacher from the British army tried to explain the Ascension of Jesus Christ to the locals using a cross-shaped kite.
Everyone Becomes a Detective in Norway During Holy Week
Norwegians spend Holy Week by watching televised crime series on national television! Mystery books are also popular this time of the year.
Voodoo Who Do in Haiti
In Haiti, a rare mix of Voodoo and Christianity are on display during Holy Week. While the holiday peaks with festive music and colorful parades, Voodoo priests make an annual pilgrimage to the village of Souvenance, offering freshly-severed goat heads and limbs.
Mexico Loves to Fire Judas Up!
Popularly known as a noisy Holy Week tradition, the Mexicans gear up for a loud festivity, engaging in fiesta-like processions and blowing up a fireworks-filled Judas (and their most hated people, including politicians) paper mache.
Images via Easytobook.com, Laszlo Balogh/Reuters, Bermuda-online.org, Huffingtonpost.com