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19th Century Feast of the Black Nazarene: “Believe with a fervent heart in the Creator” — Andres Bonifacio

19th Century Feast of the Black Nazarene
19th Century Feast of the Black Nazarene

Source Text:

Gervasio Gironella Album: The Philippines in 1847
Yglesia Parroquial de Quiapo
(Quiapo Parish Church)
The town of Quiapo is located near Manila, at the bank of the Pasig River, between the towns of Santa Cruz and San Sebastian. These towns are joined together by a single street and are separated only by a bridge spanning a stream which divides them. This drawing depicts the Church and the Plaza of the said town as the Procession of the Holy Jesus is passing by. This procession is held on the feast day of the town’s patron saint. Festivities like this are also held in all towns of the Philippines, as the natives are very fond of these and other religious celebrations. Gobernadorcillos, with all the principalesof the town, attend them. The women attend them with much devotion, wearing the lumbong or a black mantle, clutching a candle in one hand. In Tagalog, the feast of the patron saint of the town is called “pintacasi” and generally lasts for three days. Aside from the solemn mass, the sermon delivered in a local dialect by the priest and the procession, there is also a lot of music and fanfare. Naturally, the cockpits are open, because this is stipulated in the rules that govern cockfights. Moreover, no contractor would allow this to be removed from the rules, as attendance is good during such days.

Processions in the Philippines are very colorful. Many images of saints, as well as the Passion of Christ, are paraded on luxurious and well-lighted portable platforms. The images are dressed in rich costumes and are bedecked with jewellery. Traditionally, the “Hermanos Mayores” [elders or the most prosperous members o
f the town] preserve the images in their houses and host feasts whenever these are shown to the public. The natives wear their shirts untucked, and this kind of attire is worn by the town musicians, the altar servers, the choir members, as well as others who participate in activities inside or outside the Church. This may appear irreverent, and Europeans have difficulty getting used to the sight.