For the past 63 years, City of San Fernando, Pampanga is known for its observance of Lenten Season and Holy Week because of the locals’ religious practices and traditions that caught even the attention of international tourists.
Filipinos, particularly the Kapampangans, believed that this season is a time for atonement and sacrifices.
Some of its observances include “senakulo” or “pabasa” which is the chanting of the passion of Christ as read from a book that they call Pasyon, meanwhile, the penitents who are called “magdarame” are being nailed at the wooden cross they carried while others crawl on rough pavements, slash and whip their backs bloody.
These practices are their way of asking for forgiveness of sins they committed, to fulfill vows or to express gratitude for favors that have been granted.
Aside from the mentioned acts, local and international tourists flock at the three villages of the City of San Fernando, namely barangay Sta. Lucia, barangay San Juan and barangay San Pedro Cutud, to witness the world-renowned crucifixion that is reenacted on a man-made hill after two-hour street play and is being conducted at barangay San Pedro Cutud on Good Friday each year.
The performance which was called Via Crucis has been done for the past years.
Barangay San Juan, however, was one of the three villages that holds daylong passion that plays every Good Friday depicting the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
The Good Friday ritual was no longer recommended by religious leaders in the Philippines, Southeast Asia’s predominantly Roman Catholic religion country.
However, the decades-long tradition of flagellation and crucifixion continues to draw numerous crowds from different parts of the world in our country.