Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Maleldo - Holy Week in San Fernando

April 6, 2012 - Holy Week
"Maleldo  - A Spiritual Journey, a Continuing Tradition of Faith"

This is a re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion, that has been practiced each year in the City of San Fernando, originated in 1955 with the staging of the "Via Crucis" (Way of the Cross).  Volunteers first preformed during Holy Week 57 years ago in the Barangay San Pedro Cutud.  he people had time on their hands since working during those holy days was taboo.

It was in 1962 that the barangay witnessed the first actual crucifixion during the play. (This is a shortened version of the Passion Play.) A resident of a nearby town and a quack doctor dreamt that he would become a religious leader  and a full-fledged healer.  He wanted to realize his dream so he volunteered to be crucified as a sacrifice.

 Since that year not a years has passed without an actual crucifixion taking place during the reenactment that has now been joined by many penitents as a "panata" or vow of sacrifice.

This has caught national interest and subsequently became an international tourist attraction.    On Good Friday each year, the City of San Fernando, particularly in barangay San Pedro Cutud, thousands flock to witness the world-renowned crucifixion that is re-enacted on a man made hill.
(Information taken from the pamphlet handed out at the site of the crucifixion.)

We enlisted our friend Ronnie to take us see the play and crucifixion.  As we drove to San Fernando, we saw many of the 'penitents' carrying crosses in the street.  Some have razor cuts on their back for each of their sins.  Then they take a whip type thing and swing it to hit their backs.  This sometimes splatters blood on those watching the process and even on cars driving down the street.  They also cover their faces so that they are not recognizable.

We were surprised when and it was we drove by the mall it was closed along with most all businesses . .. and they don't even close on Christmas here.

Wade had one of his old business cards in his wallet and was able to get a press pass allowing him to get up close to where the action was taking place.  He met others from the press from all over the world.  I met a couple of guys - one from the  Th Pennsylvania USA and one from Spain.  There truly were thousands of people there. 

If you get squeamish seeing blood, you may not want to look at the following pictures.  It wasn't really a spiritual experience for me, but as they were nailing the person playing Jesus Christ on the cross and raising the cross up, the song, 'Behold the Great Redeemer Died' kept going through my head;  "While guilty men his pains deride, they pieced his hands and feet and side, And with insulting scoffs and scorns, They crown his head with plaited thorns."  Seeing a visual of this event made me think of how my Savior died for me, the pain he went through and the humiliation he went through.

Be aware that some of the following pictures may be a little graphic for some 
The 'penitents' process through the streets
More 'penitents' process through the streets
These are the guys who have cuts are on their backs and then walk along whipping themselves
People watching the procession past their homes - they are also selling items to those who pass by.
Here you can see how the whipping makes the cuts on their backs bleed.
The military was there to make sure things didn't get out of hand
My new hat to help keep the hot sun off of me!

Elder Jewkes getting his 'press' pass
Elder Jewkes with his press pass and camera!
Elder Jewkes & Ronnie . . . our friend and guide for the day!

The 3 crosses on the man made 'Golgotha"
Some of the spectators

Spectators from the press venue

Spectators where  Ronnie and I watched the 'play' -  lots of people!

Some of the 'penitents' making their way up the hill to the crosses

Bowing at the crosses . . . they feel this is a way to be repentant of their sins

This is one of the actors who will be nailed to the cross later in the day. He is showing the crowd the nails that will be used that ar being soaked in alcohol.
Going before Pilate for the sentence
The person playing the part of Jesus Christ (laying on the ground) being kicked and scourged

Getting ready to be crucified
Hammering the nails in his hands . . . see the expression on his face

Raising the cross
You can actually see the nails in his hands
The three hanging on the crosses.  The two on the sides are tied to the cross with straps.  The person portraying Christ only hangs for about 10 minutes and is then taken down.  There are sever others who are crucified as the afternoon goes on. 
Elder Jewkes had been in the press area where there was no shade and he didn't have any water with him.  He came down and met Ronnie and I and was having a slight heat stroke.  We helped him to this area and started pouring water on his head and getting him water (and coke) to drink.  (I had already drank 3-4 bottles of water by this time myself - it was HOT!)  The man standing is an investigator that had met us at church who came over to help.
Wade stating to feel a little better and cooling off!

The crowds in the street as we walked back to get our car.
These are some of those who are still making their way to site of the crucifixion
This little lady was peering out her door at the processions as they went by
You can see the splattered blood on our car before Jose washed it.  This happens as you drive by the processions in the streets

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