As the majority of our friends in Metro Manila are heading to the provinces to observe the Lenten season and be with their family and friends, some devout Christians are planning to reach San Pedro Cutud in Pampanga on Good Friday to observe its tradition. We may refer to it as a gruesome and voyeuristic act but residents of San Pedro and Pampanga perform it with pride to celebrate the mystery of purification after flagellation and nailing.
Facts on the Cutud Lenten Rites You Should Know About
Maledo Festival is how the Kapampangans refer to the Holy Week and re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s passion.
• Around 2,000 penitents join the rites usually composed of men and sometimes women. • The whip is made of shards of glass embedded in wooden sticks or bamboo sticks attached to a rope.
• The practice is not recognized by the Catholic Church yet it earned respect among tourists and locals as it became a form of repentance and expression of gratitude.
• The ritual is composed of different types of suffering including mamalaspas, where participants whip themselves, mamusan krus, where they carry the crosses, magsalibatbat, where they crawl on dirty roads and hot pavements and the last is called kristos which refers to the nailing on the cross.
• Aside from Barangay Cutud, there are also two other barangays in San Fernando City designated as crucifixion sites – Brgy. Sta. Lucia and Brgy. San Juan
• Expect participants to bleed and suffer as they go through the rituals. If you are haemophobic, then witnessing it is not advisable.
• The entire rite starts in San Juan at 7:30 in the morning, then continues towards Sta. Lucia until 10:00 and ends in San Pedro Cutud until 12:00 noon.
• Traffic is a major consideration if you are planning to see the ritual. You may want to leave early from your homes and allot a few hours for travel. Remember that you are not the only person planning for a Lenten trip. Others are also bound to some destinations for Bisita Iglesia.
• Unless you are fasting, you need to bring bottles of water. It is summer and the sun’s scorching heat will drain you. A piece of sandwich can help ease your hunger pangs.
• Take care of your personal belongings. Cameras, cellphones and other items should be handled with care.
• Bring extra clothes. These could help you participate comfortably.
You don’t want to go back home stinking and drenched in your own sweat, too. The Cutud Lenten Festival is a meaningful Filipino tradition which reflects our own values and faith. The modern-day society may find it unacceptable or fierce but each of us has his own way of expressing beliefs and inculcating religious convictions. Respect for individuality and differences is necessary when observing the Lent. Your GoBear family is one with the country in its observance of the Lenten Season as we all recognize the richness, tranquility, and uniqueness of Filipino devotion and practices.