Feast of the Black Nazarene: A Religious Devotion

On January 9 a huge procession would take place every year during the Feast of the Black Nazarene. It is by far the single biggest festival in the whole Philippines. It’s a fun event to watch, as a tremendously huge crowd of people, usually on bear foot to show their humility, would struggle to pull the carriage carrying the Black Nazarene.

Every year, when the Black Nazarene procession occurs, we can expect several dozens of people faint or pass out and are rushed to the nearby hospitals of the Quiapo District in Manila. If you plan to take part in the procession be forewarned that the crowd may at any time turn into a mob in a frenzy to get close and touch the Black Nazarene.

The Black Nazarene is a life-size statue of Jesus Christ. An Aztec carpenter carved it and it is now enshrined in the minor basilica of Quiapo in Manila, Philippines. Devotees to the Black Nazarene usually flock to church on Friday to pay their devotions. Today the statue has become dark-skinned thus the name Black Nazarene.

Augustinian Recollect friars brought the Black Nazarene to the Philippines on May 31, 1606 from Mexico. It was first placed and enshrined at what is now known as Rizal Park. The Black Nazarene was inaugurated on September 10, 1606.

A bigger recollect church was later completed and dedicated. By order of then Manila Archbishop Basilio Rufina the Black Nazarene was transferred to that church in Intramuros in 1608.

The Black Nazarene was able to miraculously survive the great fires of 1791 and 1929. It was also able to escape the 1645 and 1863 great earthquakes. During World War II, Manila was bombed but the Black Nazarene remained quite intact though it was damaged in 1945.

Today, during the Feast of the Black Nazarene, only a replica is brought out for the procession. You will also see smaller replicas of the original Black Nazarene in Quiapo Church.

For more than 200 years the Black Nazarene has been a figure of devotion for Filipinos of the Roman Catholic faith. People, especially the devotees, would crowd around the Black Nazarene and hope to touch the image believing it would heal them of various diseases.

Believers would even throw towels at the guards in the procession for them to wipe it on the Black Nazarene and toss it back. Devotees take the towels home believing it also has caught some miraculous power.

The Black Nazarene, with devotees dressed in maroon, is a spectacular sight. The sea of people joining in the procession is a mark of religious devotion for the majority of Filipinos.

[Tags]Fiesta, Philippines, Nazarane, Festival, Black Nazarane, Quiapo, Manila[/Tags]

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