A crowd of smiling nuns jumping up and down to a hardcore techno soundtrack: it’s a video that’s been viewed almost 20 million times in the last week, delighting web users the world over. But where were they? And were these nuns really into techno?

The video has been massively shared on Facebook. A Czech-language page called “Ministerstvo shitpostingu” posted it on Sept. 23 with the lyrics “EACH TIME THAT DARKNESS FALLS” as a caption, but no other information. The lyrics come from the track heard on the video: “Doom Terror Corps” by Phuture Doom, a group that mixes black metal with techno.

The nuns show no sign of darkness. They grin, dance with their hands in the air, and take videos with their smartphones. The bizarre juxtaposition prompted thousands of comments, with one Nigerian user writing: “Am so happy seeing these beautiful reverend sisters dancing their heart out.” Other users were more cynical: “Think they’ve slipped something in their water.”

This video, widely shared on Facebook, shows a group of nuns dancing to hardcore techno music. It was posted on a Czech Facebook page called Ministerstvo shitpostingu on Sept. 23, 2018.  

The video was picked up by other Facebook pages, racking up more than 8 million views on “We Love Rave,” and 6 million on the page of the artist X-Mind.

But a quick Google search shows that the video is a hoax. Type “Jumping nuns” into Google and click the video tab: the first result is a video posted by Aleksander Bochenek on September 18. In this version, the nuns are dancing to a dance-pop tune sung by the Polish Christian children’s group Male TGD. The nuns are actually dancing to a song called "Gory do gory", that tells kids they can climb “a mountain of fear” if they believe in God: “Don’t be afraid, just believe!” Aleksander Bochenek also published the video on his Facebook page on September 15.

The original version of the video was filmed by photographer Aleksander Bochenek in Cracow, Poland on September 15 and posted the same day on his Facebook page. The music being played is by a Polish Christian youth pop choir called Male TGD. The song “Gory do gory” tells children they have nothing to fear in life as long as they have faith.


"I’d never seen nuns dancing like that"

Aleksander Bochenek is a professional photographer who lives in Cracow, Poland.
I was out cycling in Cracow – I like to do that in the summer. I was next to Market Square in the city center when I heard the music. I decided to have a look. I saw dancing nuns. I’d never seen nuns dancing like that before. It was rather unusual.

I posted it on Facebook originally, then on YouTube. I first saw the other version a couple of days later. My first thought was “oh no, someone took my video without asking.” But it was well done. It’s funny. They did a good job. I’m not sure I’ll go as far as to invoice them. That’s common practice when you’re a photographer and someone uses a photo without permission. Video is not my thing - it’s something I just did for personal reasons.  


“It’s just a meme”

The doctored video was first posted on the Czech Facebook page “Ministerstvo shitpostingu” on Sept. 23. The site’s administrator, who identified himself as “Joe” and said he was a student and part-time DJ, told the Observers via Facebook message that he’s the one who added the soundtrack. He requested anonymity saying “this is just a fun page on Facebook and nothing serious”.
It's just a meme. I sped up the video 1.25x to match the BPM of the track (from 140 to 175) and added reverb on the audio to make it appear more real.

I chose the Phuture Doom track because I like the band (and also all kinds of hard electronic music) and thought it fit the video. Because it synced up well with the dances and claps, the song being four-on-the-floor, and it was funny because no one would expect that song with what's going on in the video.

But I like the way it spread online. It’s kind of funny, considering how Phuture Doom use religious imagery in their aesthetics and songs.

This is just a small meme page I post on from time to time, expecting pretty much nothing out of it besides a few laughs. It had a little over 2,000 likes before I posted the video and the post reaches before were usually between a few hundred and few thousand. I saw some pages have ripped and reuploaded it instead of sharing, but I don't keep track of that.

Video for the song “Gory do Gory” by the Polish Christian children’s group Male TGD.