Standing athwart history, yelling 'WTF'


Devotees of Saint John the Baptist in Bibiclat, Nueva Ecija, Philippines smear themselves with mud and don costumes of dried leaves in honor of the Holy Forerunner’s feast. According to legend, during the Second World War, a troop of guerillas captured and killed a wandering group of Japanese soldiers. In retaliation, the Japanese rounded up the menfolk of Bibiclat in the town square, which fronted the church, for execution; but before this could happen, torrential rain fell down from heaven, covering them in mud, and rendering the Japanese guns useless. The men, in thanksgiving, vowed to smear themselves in mud every year in honor of their Patron, to whose miraculous intercession they attributed their safety.

  • 25 June 2013
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