Traslacion of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo
The Traslacion of the Black Nazarene is a procession that takes place every 9th January every year. The Black Nazarene is a massive statue of a fallen Jesus suffering under the weight of the cross. During this festival, millions of Filipinos gather for the Traslacion of the figure from Rizal to Quiapo. The statue is typically found above the altar of Quiapo Basilica, attracting plenty of believers to the church all through the year.
Believers consider the Nazarene Statue possesses magical or miraculous abilities, so it draws plenty of masses. The Black Nazarene is only brought out three times a year for public worship. These three times include Good Friday New Year’s Day and the January 9th feast. The traslacion takes 18 to 22 hours through the streets of Manila where multitudes attempt to touch or accompany the Black Nazarene. The festival airs live on television, and the procession along the roads brings out a religious frenzy like no other religious event. Sometimes people result in injuries while struggling over the opportunity to be part of the procession.
History of the Feast of Black Nazarene Traslacion
The feast celebrated a minor historical event in 1787. An anonymous Mexican sculptor arrived in Manila in the mid-1600s and carved the statue. The incident involved a transfer of the sculpture from its location, at Rizal Park to its current home, at the Quiapo basilica.
During World War 2 while Manila was being liberated, the sculpture was partially destroyed in 1945. The Archdiocese of Manilla appointed Gener Manlaqui, a saint carver to make a replica of the statue. However, while its body was made to be like the original, the figure maintained its original head.
What happens during the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene?
The event primarily celebrates the passion and struggle of Jesus for believers of Christ. The life-size statue of Jesus replica is usually carried across Manila were devotees gather to touch or accompany the Nazarene across Manila. Some of the events that occur during the festival include
On the day before the festival, plenty of people especially youth gather at the Rizal Park for the Vigil, this is the anticipation of the Traslacion, believers line up to kiss or touch the foot of the statue. Some devotees wipe the cross or Black Nzaewne’s foot with a cloth to take it to their loved ones at home. This act is believed to cause physical healing. Some devotees bring copies of the statue which are treated with great respect but less frenzy.
Singing, dancing and plays take place at the Vigil before the clergy and bishops give inspirational talks. They discourage wayward behavior such as drug abuse and other biblical sins. Religious devotion is encouraged including bible studying, preaching and teaching the gospel. The Vigil carries on all day into the night.
The day starts with a huge morning mass just before the procession of the Black Nazarene begins. Devotees walk the 6.5 km route, sometimes barefooted to show a vow of sacrifice and thanksgiving. The act mimics Christ who carried the cross while barefooted. The participants gather from all over the world line up the road
Hijos del Nazareno, sons of Nazarene, wear yellow and white shirts when forming an honour guard for the statue. They help devotes to access the carriage and the figure. Devotees chant “Viva Viva” as the procession takes place slowly through the streets.