Every year on January 9, millions of Filipino devotees flock to Manila to join the Feast of the Black Nazarene – one of the most spectacular religious festivals in the Philippines. The feast honors the image of Jesus Christ carrying the cross, which is believed to have miraculous powers. The image, also known as the Poong Itim na Nazareno, has a dark complexion, which symbolizes the resilience, compassion, and joy of the Filipino people.
The highlight of the feast is the Traslación, a massive procession that transfers the statue from its original location in Intramuros to its current home in Quiapo Church. The procession can last for several hours, as the devotees brave the heat, the crowd, and the chaos to touch or get near the image. Many of them walk barefoot, as a sign of humility and penance. They also chant “Viva Señor” or “Long live the Lord” as they wave their white towels and handkerchiefs.
The feast is not only a religious event, but also a social phenomenon that reflects the hopes, dreams, and struggles of the Filipino people. It is a living tradition that evolves and adapts to the changing times and circumstances. It also offers a platform for advocacy, solidarity, and dialogue among various sectors and groups in the country.
The feast is a celebration of the Filipino spirit and the Lord Jesus, who is the Black Nazarene, who is with us, who suffers with us, and who saves us. It is a celebration of life, love, and hope.
If you want to experience the faith and culture of the Philippines, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is a must-see event that you will never forget.