Shockingly Passionate Good Friday Commemorations Around the World

Shockingly Passionate Good Friday Commemorations Around the World

While most people commemorate Good Friday with a simple service in Churches, devotees in some countries practise extreme processions in the belief that such acts will cleanse their sins. Here are some of the world’s most shocking services.

good friday

Good Friday, for the Christians and the Catholics, is the day of remembrance for the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his crucifixion at Calvary, a hill outside Jerusalem. While it is a much awaited long weekend getaway for some of us, countries from all around the world are kept busy participating in all kinds of processions, from re-enacting the crucifixion of the Christ to walking down the Stations of the Cross.

To get you started, here’s a brief summary of all the saint-like names and their significance that you may hear about during this period.

Good Friday

Good Friday is commemorated from a simple church service to extreme acts of self-flagellated abuse in some countries. Here are some of the most shocking Good Friday services around the world.


Good Friday in Philippines is known as Biyernes Santo. Christians commemorate this day with solemn street processions, including the Way of the Cross and the reflection of Jesus’ Seven Last Words (”Siete Palabras”). In some places, traditional Passion play called the Senákulo is performed.

Way of the Cross

Image credit: Paterm

Pampanga is a province in Manila, known for the devotees’ dedication to Good Friday. They either self-flog themselves or volunteer to nail themselves on crosses as an expression of penance. They believe that only by doing such extreme sacrifices can one atone for their sins. Good Friday concludes with the Filipino epic narrative of Christ’s life, Passion, Death and Resurrection by chanting the Pasyon.

Good FridayImage credit:

Good FridayImage credit:

Good Friday
Good FridayImage credit: NYDailyNews 


In Jerusalem, Good Friday begins with a morning service at the cavernous Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus is believed to be crucified, entombed and resurrected.

Good FridayImage credit: Lior Golgher

Christians commemorate Good Friday by re-enacting the Stations of the Cross, where thousands of pilgrims flocked into the narrow alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City. Some people will lift up big wooden crosses on their shoulders as they marched down the cobblestoned path.

Other proceedings include reading scriptures, saying prayers and touching the sacred stones.

Good FridayImage credit: Unterillertaler

Good FridayImage credit: Luis García

Good FridayImage credit: O’Dea at WikiCommons

Vatican City

In Vatican City, the newly-elected Pope Francis will recite Christ’s story in the morning service at St. Peter’s Basilica. Then, he will lead the Way of the Cross ceremony in a candlelit procession.

Image credit: Marco Di Lauro

Image credit: Stanislav Traykov

On Maundy Thursday, the pontiff will wash the feet of 12 prisoners, an act that was done by Christ himself when he washed the feet of 12 Apostles at the Last Supper, a significant act of humility. This foot washing ceremony is usually performed in one of Rome’s basilicas. This year, however, Pope Francis has decided to change the venue to Casal del Marmo.

Good Friday


Good Friday

Apart from all the gruesome processions, there are still some parts of the world where the commemoration is still… humane.

In Spain, the week leading up to Easter is known as Semana Santa de Sevilla. It is celebrated with embellished floats, statues of holy figures, and elaborated processions of church brotherhoods wearing hoods and robes.

The most notable processions are Spanish processions, where the nazarenes will dress in full body penitential robes as they repent in public. Their faces are covered except the eyes so that so that they won’t be recognised as self-confessed sinners. The pointed hoods are called capirotes. The ceremonies and processions occur all over Spain, where Christians have a significant presence.

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Image credit: Luis Fernández García

Image credit: Daniel Sánchez domínguez

Zorro actor Antonio Banderas is also celebrating the Holy week in Malaga with his family in 2014.


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Although not exactly a commemoration per se, In some countries, Good Friday is seen as a sacred and solemn day. Some of the governments have special laws that ban certain acts to be conducted on Good Friday. These acts are usually seen as contradicting to the holiness of this day.

For instance, in Germany, dancing in public or and comedic theatre performances are illegal on Good Friday. This law is known as Tanzverbot, and it applies to all clubs, discos and other forms of organised dancing in all German states.

Image credit: Baden-Württemberg Pirate Party

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