At least 24 Filipinos celebrated Good Friday in an incredibly painful fashion today, by voluntarily having people dressed as Roman soldiers drive four-inch stainless-steal nails through their palms, and then hoist them into the midday sun. Such ritual crucifixions are a tradition in the country, and the largest of them attracted a crowd of more than 30,000 people, the AP reports.
Many more penitent souls marched several miles to the site, flogging themselves and showering blood on spectators. The area is predominantly Catholic, but the Catholic Church officially frowns on such displays; one local archbishop called them an "imperfect imitation with doubtful theological and social significance." But one man who's been crucified 25 times now says the church should respect the practice. "When I'm up there on the cross, I feel very close to God," he says. "We grew up with this tradition, and nothing can stop us." Click to read more. (Read more crucifixion stories.)