January 9 marks one of the most significant festivals in the Philippines because this is the day when The Feast of the Black Nazarene is being celebrated. In addition to that, it is also a special day for our family because it’s also my mom’s birthday. Since my mom is also a Black Nazarene devotee, she always make sure to visit the Quiapo Church (the minor basilica of the Black Nazarene) in Manila. This year, I was able to join her attending the early mass in Quiapo Church. As expected, there was an overwhelming crowd of devotees.The overwhelming crowd from all walks of life showing their faith and devotion. After the mass, it is followed by a procession or better known to many as the “translacion”(marked as the biggest procession in the country). The procession will start from Quirino Grandstand near where the image was first enshrined and will make its way back to Quiapo Church. Millions of devotees from different parts of the country were gathered to accompany the image of the Black Nazarene which is being carried by an Andas as it makes its way along the streets of the Quiapo district. [Image taken from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/]. Marshals from the Minor Basilica, known as the Hijos del Nazareno, form an honour guard for the Black Nazarene, and are the only people allowed to ride with it in the Ándas for the duration of the Traslación. The Hijos are distinguishable by their yellow and white shirts from maroon-clad devotees, and their primary jobs are to protect the image from possible damage as well as direct the namámasán at the front and the crowd behind through hand gestures, voice commands (either directly or through a megaphone, especially at the front of the image) and whistle signals. They also help devotees clamber up the Ándas that they might briefly touch the image or its cross, and wipe towels and handkerchiefs tossed at them on parts of the image.One of the most interesting highlights of the translacion is the so called “Dungaw” or La Mirata in Spanish.It literally means to view someone or something intently from a window. And as part of the Traslacion, it involves the halting of the image of Black Nazarene at Plaza Del Carmen to be “greeted” by the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel from the balcony of the San Sebastian Church.[image taken from http://thewalkingpilgrim.blogspot.com/]After the mass, it would be great to buy some souvenirs too! There are overwhelming amount of vendors outside the church selling different items including these mini replicas of Black Nazarene, scapulars, handkerchiefs, bracelets and more.Here’s a small sample of mini replica I bought last year!A selfie after i got home from Quiapo. We have no car so we had to use the public transport in order to get there and it was not really easy! Commuting is actually way more stressing than being on the crowded procession haha.Interestingly, Cavite City also has its own version of the Black Nazarene procession held every third Sunday of January. The event is organized by the Aglipayan Church in Caridad.
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