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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FEAST OF STO. NIÑO: Greatest Devotion of the Filipinos

Feast of Sto. Nino
After the celebration of the Feast of Quiapo, Manila or more popularly known as the Feast of the Black Nazarene, another great devotion of the Catholic Filipinos will be celebarated the following days. I am specifically refering to the FEAST OF STO. NIÑO, the greatest devotion of the Filipino people. All over the country different places are going to celebrate the FEAST OF STO. NIÑO,  associated with their customs and traditions. I am not very familiar with the different ways of celebration so let us get  to know more  by searching the web. 

Below are the articles expalining the FEAST OF STO. NIÑO:

“The Solemnity of the Holy Child is a feast specially dear to Filipinos. Here we commemorate in a special way, not only the childhood of the Lord, but also the beginnings of evangelization in the Philippines. It should be remembered that when the Augustinian friars began their work in the islands, the image of the Holy Child brought some years before by the group of Magellan was discovered and put under their custory. Today, there is a shrine for that image in Cebu, a temple now called the Basilica of Sto. Nino de Cebu. The image is a reminder of something spiritual. Reflecting on the image in the key of Augustine’s “Totus Christus”, it can serve as a reminder that Catholics in the Philippines should be like an infant that is in continuous longing of the things that only the God can give, as is sung in the Offertory Song of the feast.” (http://bws.biblista.net)

"The Feast of Sto. Nino or the Feast of the Child Jesus is celebrated today in many parts of the country. The feast includes Eucharistic celebrations, fluvial processions, street dancing festivals, and parades. History says that the image of the Child Jesus was brought to the country by Ferdinand Magellan on April 14, 1521 as a gift to Queen Juana of Cebu. The image, considered as the oldest Catholic relic in the county, is permanently housed at the Basilica Minore de Santo Nino in Cebu City, which is the oldest church in the country.
The devotion to Sto. Nino is popular not only in Cebu but throughout the country. Almost every Catholic home keeps an image of Sto. Niño in their altars. The image is also visible in business establishments and even in public places.
Every year, the feast of Sto. Nino is a big celebration to many devotees, towns and cities and the Catholic church. Behind the festivities and celebrations today, the Catholic Church’s message to the Catholic people is to live in the image of the Child Jesus, that is - to live with simplicity of the mind, and sincerity of the heart. "(http://www.allvoices.com)

"The month of January in the Philippines is Santo Niño Festival Month. It is the period when many of our provinces, towns, and cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao pay homage to the Holy Child Jesus. They prepare months ahead in anticipation of the large volume of local and foreign tourists who will flock to their areas to watch and take part in the festivals.
Among the colorful festivals frequented by tourists are the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, and Sinulog Festival in Cebu City (3rd Sunday); the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City (4th weekend); the Binanog Festival in Lambonao, Iloilo, and Sinulog (Kabangkalan) Festival in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental (2nd Sunday); the Makato Sto. Niño Festival in Poblacion Makato, Aklan (January 15); the Kahimunan Festival in Libertad, Butuan City, and Batan Ati-Ati Malakara Festival in Poblacion Batan, Aklan (January 16); the Bansudani Festival in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro (January 17); the Altavas Sto. Niño Festival in Poblacion Altavas, Aklan (January 21-22); the Ibajay Ati-Ati Municipal and Devotional Fiesta in Ibajay, Aklan (January 22-23); the Dinagsa Ati-Atihan Festival in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental (January 24-30); the Hinirugyaw Festival in Calinog, Iloilo (January 30-February 6); and the Sto. Niño Festival in Malolos, Bulacan (last Sunday of January). The Tondo Fiesta that coincides with the Feast of the Santo Niño (3rd Sunday) is by far the biggest fiesta in Manila, not only because Tondo is the most populous district of the city but also because many tourists are attracted by the myriad of stories about Tondo’s miraculous image of the Child Jesus. The nationwide celebrations usually feature nine-day novena/masses in honor of the Holy Child; grand processions of folk, antique, and new images of the Holy Child in various manifestations – as a shepherd boy, as the keeper of the world, or as a sleeping child, among others; tribal-modern dance competitions where participants in colorful costumes perform street dancing to the beat of drums and lyre; beauty pageants; photo exhibits; a showcase of local plants, products, and crafts; and fireworks. In Kalibo, Aklan, a re-enactment of the barter trade from which the Ati-Atihan is believed to have originated is performed. The popular devotion to the Santo Niño, which started in Cebu, has spread to many parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Holy Child will always have a special place in the hearts of Filipinos, not only because we love children, but because of the numerous stories of miracles He has performed and our deeply ingrained faith in His power to grant healing, assistance during necessities, success in business, bountiful harvests, safe voyages, good health, guidance when taking examinations, approvals of visas to work abroad, or a gift of a child for childless couples, among the countless petitions lifted to Him in prayer. May the Holy Child bless our country and our people, and may He grant us all the things that we need to lead our country along the path of prosperity and peace. Viva El Señor Santo Niño!" (http://www.mb.com.ph)

The devotion to the Child Jesus or the FEAST OF STO. NIÑO, the greatest devotion of the Filipinos is really the top devotion in the country.  FEAST OF STO. NIÑO was featured on one TV program in the Philippines being the most famous devotion. All over the country,  FEAST OF STO. NIÑO  is being celebrated and even in the internet you will find different articles pertaining to this celebration. This article is another one and I hope it will enlighten each and everyone of us, how and why FEAST OF STO. NIÑO  devotion becomes as meaningful as it is today to the whole Filipinos.

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