16 striking photos of the 'Mud People' festival in the Philippines

The festival traces its history back to the 1940s and the Pacific War

Devotees covered in mud and dried banana leaves at dawn took part in the Taong Putik ('mud people') Festival this Monday in the village of Bibiclat in Aliaga town, around 150 kilometres north of Manila. The town is in the Nueva Ecija province of the Philippines.

Each year in June, the residents of Bibiclat village in Aliaga town celebrate the Feast of Saint John by covering themselves in mud, dried banana leaves, vines, and twigs as part of a little-known Catholic festival.

According to locals, the Taong Putik festival (literally meaning "mud people festival"), traces its history from the Pacific War and reenacts how rain stopped the execution of 14 villagers by Japanese soldiers in 1944.

The former parish priest of the village, William Villviza, said the mud also “reminds one of the lowness of one’s being” and enables one to be “close to the earth.”

The townsfolk considered this as a miracle from Saint John, and every year since then the villagers roll in mud to show their gratitude to the saint.

The Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated throughout the country every June 24.

The Philippines is the only Southeast Asian country with a predominantly Catholic majority.

Published: June 26, 2019 04:27 PM

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