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A Miracle After Touching the Statue

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Ivana Rissa G. Burda AB-English III Folklore

A Miracle after Touching the Statue

Every year of the 9th of January , millions of devotees, barefooted and clad in maroon, gather around Quiapo Church in capital Manila in the hope of getting a piece of the miracle being promised by touching the rope or garb of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno de Quiapo, more popularly called The Black Nazarene. It is a life-sized, dark wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ carrying the cross, while representing his passion and suffering and is believed to be miraculous by many Filipino Catholics. Originally with fair complexion, it is believed to have turned dark after the statue survived a burning galleon ship on its arrival from Mexico.
Days before the processions, loads of devotees arrived in Manila to take part in the festive celebration. . The procession route started from Plaza Miranda, then turned left to Quezon Blvd., right to Recto Avenue, left to Loyola St., right to Bilibid Viejo through Puyat St., left to Guzman St. (Mendoza St.), right to Hidalgo St., left to Barbosa St., right to Globo de Oro St., right to Palanca St., right to Villalobos St., then back to Plaza Miranda. Many carried images of the Nazareno during the procession through the streets of Quiapo.
The feast started when the doors of the church are opened and the wooden statue is carried out. The length of the procession is about 4.7 kilometers long. Many accidents had happened during the celebration because of the waves of people trying to touch the image itself. The swelling number of people sometimes extended to hundreds of meters from Quiapo church's doors. Some devotees just wave white handkerchiefs in the air for them to be blessed and provided with a good life. Hundreds of vendors sell oils, handkerchiefs, T-shirts and other goods bearing the Nazareno’s image. It is believed that these items, especially handkerchiefs, when wiped to a part of the Nazareno, can heal any sort of illness. . In fact, many have attested to have received miracles from the statue, but none of these have been officially acknowledged by the Catholic Church. During the procession, devotees walked on the streets on barefoot to imitate Jesus Christ’s suffering on his way to Mount Calvary. Walking barefoot during the procession is seen as a sign of humility.
The devotees hoped to make the Feast of Black Nazarene a very special day to foster unity in the country for it is a good opportunity for the people to be united. “The faithful devotion of participants to the Black Nazarene should be observed with discipline to avoid untoward incidents,” said one of the million devotees. However, as to the usual processions, injuries are inevitable due to the jostling and congestion of the crowds engaged in pulling the carriage.
The feast of the Black Nazarene reflects one of the aspects of Filipino culture which is religion. Around the world, Filipinos are known to be devout Catholics and it is in this annual event where a participant can witness, experience and feel first-handedly, the devotion and passion of Filipinos towards their spirituality. Although chaotic and a culprit of heavy traffic in Manila, the Black Nazarene Procession is a hallmark of Filipino culture. It showcases the Filipinos’ more than 200 years of devotion to the Black Nazarene, as well as their undying hope for a better health or future through struggling to get closer to the charred image of Jesus Christ.
Over time, the popularity of the celebration spread to the southern provinces of Luzon, the Visayas and some parts of Mindanao bringing in more devotees when the procession starts. It has been reported that the number of people who joined the procession this year swelled to about nine (9) million devotees. This just proved the strength of the Christian faith in the Philippines.
If you decide to take part in the event, be prepared. A few dozen people a year faint out by one or a combination of heat, fatigue, or being trodden upon by other devotees and must be taken away by ambulance. And there is at least a small risk of being trampled.
The feast and procession, though, are a truly Filipino experience.

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