The Harrowing Scenes of Maundy Thursday in the Philippines

The Harrowing Scenes of Maundy Thursday in the Philippines

...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.

Maundy Thursday Traditions Around the World

Maundy Thursday is a significant day for Christians worldwide.


It marks the beginning of the three-day Easter celebrations from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.

The day commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

However, the observances of Maundy Thursday vary in different regions and cultures, from feet washing and charitable acts to extreme flagellation and even crucifixion rituals.

Maundy Thursday Observances in the Philippines

In the Filipino city of San Fernando, Maundy Thursday is marked by the extreme and horrifying ritualistic practice of self-flagellation with bamboo sticks and chain-link whips.

Devout Catholics walk through the streets barefoot and blindfolded, atoning for their sins, and leaving their feet stained with blood.

Some even volunteer to be nailed to a cross in a gruesome re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


These practices are strongly discouraged by the Pope, who has labeled them as “extreme.” Although these practices were banned for the past three years due to COVID protocols, local governments approved their citizens to restart the practice this year.

Hooded Filipino penitents parade through the streets in San Fernando

Maundy Thursday Observances Worldwide

Maundy Thursday services date back to the 13th century and used to involve the distribution of money to the poor and washing their feet.

This tradition is still observed in many countries worldwide, including the Vatican.

Pope Francis used his Maundy Thursday homily to address the scandal surrounding sex abuse by clergy, which caused many faithful to lose trust in their pastors.

During the ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope blessed ointments, and priests renewed their promises made when they were ordained to the priesthood.

The Pope is also set to travel to a juvenile prison on Rome’s outskirts, where he will take part in the foot-washing ritual, a powerful symbol of humility and priestly service to others.

Pope Francis (on platform, Top R) presiding over the celebration of Chrism Mass as part of the Holy Week on April 6, 2023


Maundy Thursday is a day that holds different meanings and observances across various regions and cultures worldwide.

While some celebrate with charitable acts and feet washing, others engage in extreme rituals.


Regardless of the observances, the day serves as a reminder of Jesus’ commandment to love one another and the importance of humility and service to others.

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