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Black Nazarene Festival
Quiapo, Manila - January 9

The Black Nazarene Festival centers on the image of the Black Nazarene. The highlight of the festival is an afternoon procession by thousands of devotees. Other millions of the Black Nazarene devotees will watch or join the procession.

Devotees of the black Nazarene believe that by continuing with the yearly family vow or "panata", they will find peace and good health for their families. Others ask for deliverance from all kinds of calamities. Others for better health, prosperity and for the stability of our country and world peace.

Every January 9 at the Quiapo Church Manila the Black Nazarene, a life-sized statue of Christ is carried through town by barefooted men yelling, "Viva Señor. Meanwhile a huge crowd will try to touch the statue.

The Black Nazarene statue was originally bought by a priest in Mexico and brought to Manila in 1606. Since 1787 the black Nazarene has been housed at Saint John the Baptist Quiapo church Manila.

For more than 200 years during the Black Nazarene Festival the statue is placed on a gilded carriage every January and pushed through the streets of Quiapo Manila.

Some people who touched the black Nazarene reported the healing of diseases. Therefore many people come from all over on the chance that they will be able to get close enough to touch the black Nazarene and perhaps receive a miracle.

At the feast of the black Nazarene people throw towels to the police who guard the statue of the black Nazarene and ask them to rub the towel on the statue in hopes of carrying some of that power away with them...

The black Nazarene is also brought out on Good Friday.

If you decide to take part of the feast of the black Nazarene be prepared. Most in the crowd go barefoot in penance and humility as they follow the statue. A few dozen people a year pass out and must be taken away. And there is at least a risk of being trampled.

The Black Nazarene Festival and procession is truly Filipino experience. It is the single largest festival of the year in the Philippines.

In 1998, a replica of the original Black Nazarene was first paraded due to the repeated damages on the statue. Today this replica is the one used in the parades while the original rests inside the Quiapo church Manila.


Traveler's Philippine Companion by Kirsten Ellis

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