Sunday, January 20, 2013

Celebrating The Feast of Sto. Niño de Tondo

The feast of Sto. Niño de Tondo has been celebrated over the centuries since it was built by the Augustinian friar in the 16th century. The church is built on elevated land in Tondo, Manila, considered the most populated district of the Philippine capital.

The feast is celebrated on the third Sunday of January and has been visited by thousands of devotees and pilgrims nationwide. Several activities are witnessed, including the fluvial procession of the holy image of Sto. Niño, mass celebration, and street dancing.

I celebrated the mass on this day; thousands gathered inside the church and near the parish. Children that are infants and toddlers are visible during this feast. Parents carry their children to receive Divine blessings for their growth and spiritual development.

The relic of Sto. Niño is considered one of the oldest in the country when it was brought by the Spanish authorities to influence and embrace Christianity as a religion and become a symbol of religious faith. Since then, the devotees have shared many miracles that made it widely known as it is today.

In Cebu City, located in the central Philippines, the feast of Sto. Niño de Cebu is also celebrated by millions of Cebuanos and visitors from different places in the Philippines. Even foreign tourists visit the city to witness the grand parade known as the "Sinulog Festival."

The 'Sinulog' is colorful and festive, where several groups or tribes are dressed elegantly and dance gracefully, along with a musical beat of drums and other instruments. This yearly event captures the attention of many people and is visited by millions just to participate and celebrate in honor of Sto. Niño.

Many places in the country celebrate the feast of Sto. Niño and shows the religious devotion of the people to the child Jesus. Despite the misfortune and misery in people's lives, faith in God is still a powerful weapon to remain strong and faithful.

It takes courage and determination to be optimistic in times of difficulty, but Filipinos have proven how to be resilient and survive. It is not the colorful costumes; not the magnificent fluvial and land parade, or the trend that we celebrate this feast; the essence is our religious or spiritual devotion to living in our hearts forever.

Viva Sto. Niño!

© 2013 Del Cusay