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When one mentions Quiapo Church, it is tantamount to saying the famous Black Nazarene. Come January 9, Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene, an unprecedented religious celebration in the country.
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On ordinary days, the Quiapo Church is packed with many people, especially on Fridays when an ordinary Pinoy would call it ‘Quiapo Day’. And the throngs of people grow into millions on January 9. Devotees from all walks of life join in the procession known as ‘Translacion’, enduring 20 hours or more of walking barefoot on Manila’s hot streets. This is one procession where the display of faith, determination and meekness are very evident –risking life and limb just to touch the revered statue not minding the hunger, pain and the exhaustion of the physical body. Talk about spiritual euphoria!
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Believed to be miraculous, every devotee has their own story of healing and miracles which they all credit to the black image of Jesus Christ, thus participating in the feast is like paying back all the favors to Him. One of the astonishing scenarios during the Translacion is when people attempt to get near the statue by climbing the sea of people to kiss the Black Nazarene’s cross. Another interesting scenario is the simultaneous waving of the white towels, as if orchestrated by a coordinator. It is said that Filipinos practice a culture of touch, hence the waving of the towels is equivalent to touching the heavens.
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As the new year becons, millions of devotees are preparing for the annual Translacion, which will happen on the second Tuesday of the year. The Translacion will start after the 5 o’clock morning prayer at the Quirino Grandstand and traverses through the winding streets of Manila where the statue is returned safely to its home.
Cover Photo credits: @sorianopjs