MANILA, April 3 (UPI) -- Several villages in the Philippines have banned tourists from participating in annual crucifixion rites ahead of Easter to avoid the symbolic tribute to Jesus Christ's passion and death from becoming a "circus."
Harvey Quiwa, chairman of the committee in charge of 2015 Holy Week rites, said including non-Filipinos in the annual ritual has trivialized the event and Christ's suffering. Last year, filmmaker Lasse Spang Olsen was nailed to a cross. In previous years, others from outside the Philippines have taken part in the event.
Crucifixion rites on Good Friday has become an annual tradition in the villages of San Pedro Cutud, Santa Lucia and San Juan and drawn thousands of spectators. Other traditions include carrying wooden crosses and crawling on rough pavement.
In the past, the only requirement to participate in the Filipino tradition was that the person be Roman Catholic. Now, only local Filipinos can participate.