16 January 2012

Two million honour the Santo Niño (Holy Child) in Cebu City

I probably underestimated the faith of Filipinos in my Sunday Reflections for the Feast of the Santo Niño (Holy Child), Let the Children Come to Me, which I didn't post on this blog but on Misyon, the online magazine of the Columbans in the Philippines of which I am editor.

The Sun*Star, a daily newspaper published in Cebu, carries a story today, Almost 2 million join solemn procession in Cebu. The video above is included in the paper's online report.

The traditional religious procession, which commemorates the beginnings of the Catholic Christian faith in the Philippines, takes place on Saturday. The commercial parade, which started only in 1980, takes place on Sunday.

The Sinulog dance, two steps forward and one back, is said to resemble flowing water, is a religious dance. The first time I saw it was in a mountain barrio in Mindanao nearly 40 years ago when, after the fiesta Mass and baptisms, the grandmother of one of the newly baptised took the child in her arms and danced in front of an image of the Santo Niño. I have seen what has happened to St Patrick's Day in Ireland in recent where the main celebrations have little or nothing to do with the Christian faith, a faith that more and more Irish people are rejecting, and I have a fear that the same thing is happening here in the Philippines.

Last Saturday's celebration in Cebu, the genuine one, shows that maybe my fear is misplaced. I hope so.

The fluvial procession that precedes the procession through the streets of Cebu City in the video above.


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