Residents of the village of Bibiclat, some 150 km (93 miles) north of Manila, in the province of Nueva Ecija, covered themselves in mud and banana leaves, Sunday, to take part in the 'Taong Putik' ('Mud People') Festival celebrating the birth of Saint John the Baptist. The villagers started celebrating at sunrise, by covering their bodies with mud from the rice paddies and banana leaves. They... Еще then walked barefoot around the village, holding candles and praying, before attending a Catholic mass. The tradition reportedly dates back to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in the 1940s, when Bibiclat's women prayed to St. John the Baptist to save their loved ones from execution by Japanese troops. The captives were spared by a sudden rainstorm, causing overjoyed villagers to roll in the mud. Some festival goers also claim the mud and costumes are designed to emulate the attire of St. John the Baptist who was known for wearing basic, earthly clothing.