In a cracking twist of the Catholic tradition of self-flagellation, Soltepec religious faithful have taken to whipping each other on Holy Saturday.

Men gathered in the town's public square to participate in this unique festival believed to cleanse the body of sin.

The one-on-one battles are fought by mutual agreement and strikes are directed at the back of an opponent.

The day is often used as an opportunity to settle some old scores, although no-one is supposed to hold grudges after a good whipping. Others like to show off their strength and bravery before peers.

The whips themselves are made from agave which is drawn taut, twisted into small knots and then soaked in pulque, the fermented liquid of agave.

Participants can pick up some serious injuries in the process, risking limb if not life, like Jesus.

While there is some doubt as to the origins of the tradition, it is thought to hark back to the 16th century.

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CGTN 27 May 2019 15:45 CEST

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