Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the biggest Catholic procession and festival that any Manilans would encounter .
The early dawn mass was presided by Manila’s archbishop Antonio Tagle . Seen hearing Mass were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who was the hermano mayor of the Feast of the Black Nazarene; wife Loi and daughter Jackie; former vice president Noli de Castro, a known devotee of the Black Nazarene; and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Thomas Orbos.
The Black Nazarene was carved from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico, and then transported to Philippines on May 31, 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion. Pope Innocent X granted recognition to the lay Confraternity of Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno in 1650 for the promotion of the devotion to Jesus through the icon.
In 1608, the Poong Nazareno was transferred to the church of San Nicolas de Tolentino. in what was then Bagumbayan. It was only in 1787 when then Archbishop of Manila Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, S.P. arranged for the transfer of the image. The January 9 procession reenacts the image’s Traslación (literally, “transfer”) in 1787, or solemn relocation to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine in what is now near Rizal Park.
The statue (in recent years a replica) is brought out of its shrine for public veneration three times a New Year’s Day (the first day of its novena) , Good Friday and January 9.
The church was painted cream after the original Mexican Baroque edifice was burned down in 1928.
Juan Nakpil, an architect, was the one that handled the rebuilding of the Quiapo church. He was well known to make several notable buildings. He is also renowned as a “National Artist for Architecture”. He was responsible for erecting a dome and a second belfry to the church.
The church had undergone a lot of rebuilding and reconstruction due to calamities such as great fires and powerful earthquakes.
It is expanded to its current form in 1984 for accommodation of thousands of devotees by José María V. Zaragoza and recently hailed as ” National Artist for Architecture ” . The minor basilica is also known as St. John the Baptist Parish.
Feast Day and Celebration
Quiapo is also a place where there is also a number of old families which takes their roots . The district is often known as downtown Manila during the 1940’s until mid- 1960’s .
There are a lot of symbolism behind the colors , walking barefoot and waiving of towels . The mood is very festive and solemn at the same time.
People from all walks of life would come to the district to pray and participate . Street vendors ,hawkers and business owners would also have a brisk business during this time of the year.
The most saleable products during the festival are food , water , t-shirts , towels and anything that is connected to the devotion to the black nazarene.
The devotees would also bring a replica of the black nazarene, some are simple made from ordinary plywood , on top of pedicabs , tricycles and ornately -made processional carriages.
There was the “pahalik” (kissing of the statue of the Nazarene and other statues of saints), “pasindi” (lighting of candles for prayers), “pabihis” (the changing of garments of the Nazarene), “pabendisyon” (sprinkling of the Holy Water), “pagpasan” (the carrying of the carroza on shoulders or the rope attached to it”), “paglalakad ng paluhod” (processing to the altar of the church on bended knees) and many others.
It will still take hours before the processional image of the black nazarene will return to the basilica , but the fond memories and deep rooted faith of the Filipinos are a big testament that this tradition is alive .
PSST.PH family is part of the story and Happy Feast of the Black Nazarene.