“Viva Pit Señor!” That’s what you’ll hear people chant in a Sinulog Festival. Every third Sunday of January is a joyous day for the people of Cebu City. It is the month when one of the grandest festivals of the Philippines is celebrated. The Sinulog Festival is the most colorful one, too. The Sinulog Festival is celebrated in honor of the Santo Niño, which is the patron saint of Cebu. The Sinulog Festival is a dance ritual that reminisces the time when Filipinos embraced Christianity.
In the Sinulog Festival, you will see the most colorful displays and street dancing. The participants in the Sinulog Festival wear bright-colored costumes and dance to the music made by trumpets, native gongs, and drums. The streets are full of people eager to witness the beauty of the festival. Sinulog Festivals are also held in other parts of the country, but in smaller versions.
Traditionally, the Sinulog Festival is celebrated for nine days. The ninth day culminates into the Sinulog Festival Grand Parade. A water parade called Fluvial Procession is held on the day before the Grand Parade. The procession starts at dawn from Mandaue City and ends in Cebu City. A pump boat is decorated with flowers and candles with the Santo Niño in it. A reenactment of the Christianizing of Cebu follows at the Basilica. A solemn procession is held in the afternoon along the city’s major streets. This usually lasts for hours due to multitudes of participants.
On the Sinulog Festival day, a Pontifical Mass headed by the Cardinal is held at the Basilica. Bishops of Cebu assist in this event. Devotees and others populate the Basilica to attend the mass. Afterwards, they all head out to the streets to witness the Sinulog Festival Grand Parade.
The word ‘Sinulog’ is from the Cebuano adverb ‘sulog’. It means “water current movement.” Its adaptation describes the forward-backward step movement of the Sinulog dance. According to the rhythm of the drums, people dance two steps forward, then one step backward. In the latter years, this dance has evolved into three categories: Sinulog-base, Free-Interpretation, and Latin Category. And has been the cause of some arguments if it has to do with the Sinulog tradition. But the candle vendors at the Basilica still prefer to perform the traditional version for their customers.
The historic event where the Sinulog Festival is based was on April 7, 1521. Fernando de Magallanes, a Portuguese navigator, landed on Cebu and claimed the area in the name of the King of Spain. He gave the Santo Niño to Rajah Humabon’s wife, Hara Amihan as a baptismal present. Rajah Humabon was Cebu’s ruler at that time. In honor of Carlos I’s mother, Juana, Hara Amihan’s name was changed to Queen Juana. 800 natives together with their rulers were baptized into Christianity.
This is the event where the Sinulog Festival revolves. The main theme of the Sinulog dance is Queen Juana, with the Santo Niño in her arms, blessing the people that are ill due to evil spirits.
The Sinulog Festival is an important event in the Filipinos’ religious life. It’s a time for joyful and colorful celebration. For a spectator on the street, it’s a beautiful scene to behold. But for a participant doing street dancing, it’s a way to show their devotion to God. The Sinulog Festival is a must see event.
[Tags]Fiesta, Sinulog, Philippines, CebuFestival[/Tags]