Feast of Sto. Niño

Our province recently held a religious procession in honor of the Sto. Niño, the child image of Jesus Christ.

It is almost similar (or patterned) to the way Cebuanos celebrated the feast by having the Sinulog Festival. A famous parade and street dances in honor of the child Jesus. Santo Niño is the oldest religious image that reached the Philippine soil. A wooden image was brought by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and was presented as a baptismal gift to Queen Juana

During the Holy Mass, I have learned that the Philippines is the only country (tolerated?) that has this kind of feast and approved by the Holy See.

"Just remember that this Holy Child grew to become the adult Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save us from our sins", the Parish Priest reminded his flock during his sermon, as he invited everyone to join the procession.

In my almost two decades of embracing life in this part of the province, I think this is the first time we held a colorful parade for the young Jesus. A lot of people joined the procession with each barrio or barangay having representatives. There were various images in different clothes, most are in greens and reds.

Aside from the religious images, there were also a lot of children that were dressed the same as the Holy Child. The parents and guardians beside their children. The children are so cute waving their hands... and the fun part of it is that some of them are giving away goodies - candies, pop corn and stuffs to the watchers.

There were brass bands, ati-atihan dancers, female dancers in native moslems costumes (of Southern Philippines) similar to singkil and some people in green shirt printed with "Viva Sto. Niño!" People of all ages are present - from the young children, to teen agers to the lolas (grannies). As I was taking photos, I thought I bumped into a young lad - to my surprise, he turned out to be our young parish priest! :)

I find it interesting the various types of vehicles used to carry the religious images depicting the young Jesus. There were small battery-operated toy cars, tricycles, bicycles with sidecars (still a tricycle?) , passenger type jeepneys, owner-type jeepneys, SUV's and the pugpug or hand tractor. I was waiting for the carabao or cow with cart... But it's a no-show.

I find the parade fun and worthwhile. It shows how the town people cooperates with one another and how venerates the Savior. I also observe a lot of them having fun during the parade, greeting people as they pass by and seemingly not minding their exhaustion.

The colorful procession - the dances, the trimmings and the entire pageantry is just the Filipino's way of expressing how important the Young Jesus is in our lives.

I am glad and am proud for having this tradition, finally, in our town!

My congratulations to the organizers of the event!

Viva Sto. Niño!

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