Catholic worshippers in the Mexican state of Guerrero carried crosses and flagellated themselves in overnight processions as they commemorated Good Friday.

Hundreds watched as masked penitents known as "encruzados" (the crucified ones) carried bundles of thorny branches on their backs as they made their way through the cobbled streets of Taxco, in a tradition dating back to 1622.

Other devotees whipped themselves in a flagellation rite meant as a sacrifice and to atone for sins.

The celebration also included a procession of dozens of images of Christ brought in from various neighborhoods in the town.

Female penitents known as "encorvadas" (the hunchbacked ones) also participated in the procession carrying crucifixes and dragging chains tied to their ankles.

Devotees were assisted by groups of men known as godfathers or "padrinos," who provided water or a momentary relief during their pilgrimage, which can last up to eight hours.

Some penitents perform this ritual to thank God for favors granted, while others do it as part of a family tradition.

Considered one of Christianity's holiest days, Good Friday marks the suffering Christ experienced when he was betrayed by Judas, sentenced by Pontius Pilate and then crucified.

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