Health officials in the Philippines have issued health guidelines for Catholics who will be joining the annual self-flagellation rituals this week. If you must whip yourself, health officials would like to make sure that the whip and process is as hygienic as possible to avoid infection and tetanus. Officials are encouraging the use of “well-maintained whips” — a real advancement when one views the video below. The next health advance may to regulate self-crucifixions in the country.
Officials have been careful not to discourage self-flagellation. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III stressed “We are not trying to go against the Lenten tradition here. But this advice is important to make sure that no one will land in the hospital due to tetanus or other infections that penitents might get in the process. . . . Getting deep cut wounds during whippings or lashings is inevitable. And being so exposed during the course of the penitence, with all the heat and dust blowing in the wind, welcomes all sorts of infections and bacteria like tetanus.”
For a video of this tradition, click here
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Yet, the more immediate health issue may be the tradition of self-crucifixions, as shown in this video.
Of course, Catholics are not alone in such practices. Shiites routinely cut themselves with swords in marking the Ashura , as shown in this video. This includes cutting children with razors, as discussed here.