Feast of the Black Nazarene
The Philippines is a pre-dominantly Catholic country and observes a number of religious beliefs. The first and also the biggest religious event of the year is celebrated every 9th of January – the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Also called the Traslación or the Transfer of the Black Nazarene, the feast celebrates its 409th anniversary and around 15 million people are expected to join the passage.
During the 1600’s, this life-size wooden carving of Jesus Christ carrying his cross was brought to Philippines from Acapulco, Mexico by the use of a galleon. The statue was originally sculpted from pure ivory but was burnt during the expedition that caused the dark complexion of Jesus Christ in the image. This iconic figure is believed to have brought countless miracles and healing that cause it to earn millions and millions of devotees.
(Photo grabbed from Philippine Star website)
Dressed in heavy velvet maroon tunic, the image is placed in a golden carriage and transferred from Quirino Grandstand back to its original resting place at Quiapo Church, re-enacting the transportation from Mexico to Manila. At this day-long procession, young and old devotees walk barefoot and brave the crowd to get near the sculpture just to wipe their handkerchiefs and face towels and receive the miraculous power of the Nazarene, as they say.
The feast day of the Black Nazarene is a special non-working holiday in the city of Manila. Heavy traffic and accidents are expected during this day that is why hundreds of enforcers assist the procession and emergency stations are situated at every corner.