Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Feast of the Black Nazarene: Devotees flood Manila streets

Devotees of the Black Nazarene flooded the streets of Manila
QUIAPO, Manila -- The main streets of Manila turn into ocean of people as the entire Filipino nation celebrates today, January 9, 2013, the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Every year on this date, the city of Manila – the capital of the Philippines and being worldwide known being a catholic country turns into ocean of Filipino devotees joining the procession along the streets of Manila, one of the popular piety or tradition in the country.

As this developed, the government prime security groups such as the police and its multipliers, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has deployed thousands of its men to ensure the safety of the devotees.

As usual, millions of Filipino devotees attended the mass ceremony at Quirino Grandstand and at around 7 o’clock in the morning of January 9, the procession moves on to the main streets of Manila. Many believe that by joining this religious activity their ‘wish’ will be granted by the miraculous Black Nazarene.

Devotees normally wear maroon shirts and walk barefoot with the image as an act of penance and a sign of humility while yelling “Viva Senor”. Devotees hold the rope pulling the image’s carriage.

During the procession, people are reaching for the rope and the image of the Black Nazarene. Other people also throw towels in the image. It is said that people who have touched the image, or those towels have been healed, cured from the disease.

This occasion is also a great opportunity for the small time entrepreneurs who sell various religious souvenirs such as printed shirts, icons, towels and other items. Lawless elements such as pick-pocketers and salisi group also take opportunity in this event.

The Black Nazarene icon

Filipinos believed the icon is miraculous
The Black Nazarene is a life-size statue of Jesus Christ carrying a cross. It is said that the icon was brought by an Agustinian Recollect priest of Acapulco Mexico to the Church of San Juan Bautista in Bagumbayan, Philippines on May 31, 1606.

It is said that the statue of the Black Nazarene has a fair complexion and turned black only after a fire in the galleon vessel on its arrival in the Philippines. After the said incident, historians said, many Filipinos believed it to be miraculous. In 1608, the icon was moved to a bigger Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros. On January 9, 1787 it was transferred to Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila where the image is still currently kept.

Historian Xiao Chua said in his Unang Hirit appearance today the celebration reunites the people carrying different purpose and hopes. A lot of the devotees identify themselves with the passion of Jesus Christ.
Devotees relate life struggles underwent by Jesus, as represented by the image. A lot find the image miraculous, and that is the reason why a lot of sick people or those who are praying for a sick family member participate in this event asking for healing and miracle.

The 2013 Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the biggest and the longest procession in the Philippine history. Last year, the parade took 22 hours to complete the route as planned from and back to the Quiapo church. It recorded close to 10 million devotees who joined the celebration. (Ricky Bautista)