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Pahalik: Kissing Jesus’ Dead Body

Touch is an unusually strong element of Filipino Catholic piety. Filipinos often touch statues to show their devotion. Pahalik — to kiss — is an important manifestation of that devotion, whether it entails kissing in image of the baby Jesus, or the feet or body of the suffering or dead Jesus.   

On Good Friday, Catholic churches nationwide provide an opportunity for Pahalik after the 3 p.m. Good Friday service. The faithful kiss a statue of the dead body of Christ which is displayed in front of the altar, either hanging on a crucifix or laid out on a funeral bier. Many find it reminiscent of the way they would visit and grieve a deceased relative. On passing and touching the image, the faithful often whisper a personal prayer before and after kissing the image.

In some churches, Pahalik is followed by a procession of the Santo Entierro, the Holy Burial, when the carriage with the dead body of Jesus laid out is brought into the streets as if ready to be taken to his tomb. It is accompanied in procession by carriages with statues of the story of the Passion.

Holy Week & Easter

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