Today, thousands of devotees flocked to the yearly procession of the Black Nazarene.
What might be the longest religious living procession in the Philippines draws devotees from all over the country. People brave massive crowds just to get a glimpse, grab the rope of the carriage or daringly attempt to touch the centuries old image of the Black Nazarene.
The yearly festivities start on the 7th of January when a procession of replicas of the Nazareno is displayed to the crowd. Hourly masses and vigils then follow on January 8 at the Quirino Grandstand. After a night of prayers, as the sun rises forth to the next day (January 9), people start to gather around Quiapo to witness the procession of the Black Nazarene to Minor Basilica.
The Black Nazarene is a statue that depicts the suffering and passionate Christ. It is said to be miraculous and grants prayers of numerous Filipinos. What originally was fair skin was charred black because it was said to survive the burning galleon ship that transported the revered image from Mexico to the Philippines.
The waves of countless devotees and their devotion emanates through the crowd. People from all walks of life with answered prayers and petitions gather in this religious day to show how the widely Catholic country shows their gratefulness and dedication to the Lord.
It doesn’t come as a surprise where all this passionate devotion comes from. Testimonials of answered prayers and saved lives are everywhere. Devotees are eager to share stories of how the Nazareno changed their lives.
Other devotees show their dedication to the Black Nazarene by serving food and assisting in the feast. This show of solidarity, not only devotion, marks this day as very Filipino.