Wednesday, 19 March 2008

On flagellants

flag·el·late (flj-lt)
tr.v. flag·el·lat·ed, flag·el·lat·ing, flag·el·lates
1. To whip or flog; scourge.
2. To punish or impel as if by whipping.

It is holy week and my mind transports itself to the traditional way the Philippines wallows into the crucified Christ religiousity. The Central part of the Philippines is well known to showcase flagellants who make a big deal out of it. People from all walks of life do self-mortification by either whipping themselves and/or have themselves be hanged on the cross. Others carry a large cross while walking and whipping themselves. It is an annual spectacle that some observe during the lent. They try to seek mortification over the sins that they've made in the previous year. I don't dig it so, I don't bring myself to witness it personally. Although in a couple of times when I go to Baguio years before to enjoy the coolness of the holy week, I can see some of the flagellants through the bus window. The sight of blood and the open wound + sweat + heat +absurdity (oooops) or 'faith' isn't just me.

I don't feel the 'pious' holy week ambiance out here in Melbourne. The Filipinos that I met also complained of the same nostalgia. "No place like home" would be a seller in pep talks...

However, is this the only way of mortification? What about going on a boring diet for the sake of figure? Can this be flagellation too? (Ehemmm, is it a synonym to vanity?) What about doing the routine, dragging oneself to work, to endless meetings? How about sacrificing for the common good, the family or unity? Is it not another whipping? Another punishment?
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