Both religious and cultural, the Sinulog festival of Cebu City is offered in honor of the Sto. Nino or the divine child, god, creator & protector of the world. Sinulog is one of the most colorful and grandest festival in the Philippines. The Sinulog festival is held on the Third Sunday of January. Essentially, it is a dance ritual commemorating the Cebuano & Filipino people's pagan past and their acceptance of the Catholic faith.
The revelry and the spontaneous shout of "Pit Seņor" has become part of the Visayas-Cebuano culture. The celebration traditionally lasts for 9 days, culminating on the 9th day usually a Sunday, when the Sinulog grand parade unfolds. The Sinulog contest is traditionally held at the Cebu City Sports Complex where most of Cebu's provincial events are held. Smaller versions of the festival organized by Cebuanos are also held in various parts of the world aside from the Sinulog festival in Cebu City, Sinulog in Dipolog Zamboanga City, Sinulog in Macau, China, Sinulog in Florida and Philadelphia U.S.A. and Sinulog in Australia, among others.
Candle vendors at the Basilica del Sto. Niņo continue to perform the traditional version of the dance when lighting a candle for the customers, usually accompanied by songs in the native dialect. Sinulog features some of the country's most colorful display of pageantry. Participants armed in colorful costumes dance to the rhythm of drums & native gongs. During the Sinulog, the streets are lined with vendors and pedestrians, all wanting to witness the street dancing. From the tradition of street dancing among the locals, Sinulog expanded into a contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country.
The day before the grand parade, a more solemn procession takes place along the street of Magallanes & ending up in the Basilica del Sto. Niņo towards the fluvial parade. This religious march is actually a water parade of boats held at dawn from the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1, in Cebu City with the Sto. Niņo carried in a pump boat next to hundreds of flowers and candles. Devotees meet at the Basilica for the reenactment of the 1st baptism of Rajah Jumabon & Queen Juana, of whom the image of the Sto. Niņo was given as a gift from the Spanish consulate.
by: Catherine Cumpa
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