Last Sunday (January 27, 2019), the streets of Kawit Cavite was graced by colorful Andas and Carozas carrying the images of Santo Niño. The feast of the Holy Child is celebrated annually in various parts of the country. The celebrations usually take place in January which includes the popular Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival in Cebu, the Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan and the Dinagyang of Iloilo.
In Kawit, Cavite, the celebration in Honor of Santo Niño is done in an equally colorful and festive way. Different barangays, private owners of Santo Niño images and thousands of devotees from different parts of Kawit and nearby towns were all gathered in a colorful and joyful parade. If Sinulog is known for their distinctive dance moves and costumes and Ati-atihan is popular for the black soot on their faces, Caviteños are known for celebrating their Feasts in traditional “karakol.”
Karakol is aptly described as a religious procession characterized by graceful street dance in honor of the town’s Patron saints. You can witness this joyful tribute in towns like Rosario (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – Reina De Caracol), Imus (Nana Pilar) and Cavite City (Our Lady of Solitude of Porta Vaga) during the feast day of their respective Patron/patroness. Kawit is no different at all and the town is known for their grand colorful celebrations. Last December, they had the grandeur Maytinis Festival (a grand float parade).
The Grand Karakol in honor of Santo Niño is one of the most anticipated celebrations in Kawit. This year, they come up with the theme “Niño Hesus, Gabay ng Kabataan sa Pagmimisyon at Pagmamalasakitan” in line with Year of the Youth celebration of Catholic church. Different Baranggays were gathered in this colorful parade along with private Santo Niño custodians or better known as Camareros.
Although i am very much aware of the festive karakol (since I am also a pure Caviteño), this is actually my first time to witness the grand Karakol of Santo Niño in Kawit and I am simply mesmerized by the overwhelming devotion of the people of Kawit.
It was a long colorful parade of people which kicked off from St Mary Magdalene Parish to different streets in Kawit. Santo Niño is basically a representation of Jesus when He was just a Child and much like Marian images in our country, it comes with many different titles too. There’s the Santo Niño de Tondo, Santo Niño de Cebu, Santo Niño de Ecclesias, Santo Niño de Pasion, Santo Niño de Salvacion to name a few. Basically, the titles are based on the image’s origin or depictions whereas Santo Niño de Cebu is an image originated from Cebu and Santo Niño de Passion depicts the passion of Christ through a Holy Child’s image.
Santo Niños are carried either by Andas (a platform carrying the image and is being swayed by people in a graceful manner) or by flamboyantly decorated Carozas. Some participants even used their cars and tricycles and adorned them with colorful decorations for their Santo Niño.
Without any further ado, here are some of the Santo Niño images that graced the 2019 Grand Karakol of Santo Niño in Kawit, Cavite.
Take note that this event is not a competition but look how much effort they put in each Andas and Carozas.
Santo Niño are wearing different dresses and even uniforms. The one above is sporting a Police Uniform.
Since the image represents the Child Jesus, the andas and the carozas are often adorned with candies and toys. These ornaments are given away after the procession.
This one was even inspired from a popular Children TV Show
Santo Niño De Cebu.
A cute Santo Niño wearing a Sailor suit
Another festive Caroza
Kids carrying their improvised Andas
One of the highlights of the Karakol is the Santo Niño image of St Mary Magdalene Parish