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Monday, January 16, 2017

Fiesta of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu and Sinulog Procession at FilipinoTown Woodside NY 2017

In the Philippines, the year begins with a month-long tribute to the Holy Child Jesus. All over the country, devotees to the Santo Niño carry images in processions, offer flowers and dress the statue. The celebration peaks on the third Sunday of the month, which marks the Feast of the Santo Niño. The festival includes a must-see dance ritual, the Sinulog that embraces their Christianity. According to historical accounts, when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521, he presented a wooden Santo Niño to the wife of Rajah Humabon, Cebu's chieftain. This image became the symbol of friendship between the natives and the Spanish conquerors, who converted most of the country to Christianity. The Santo Niño is the Holy Child Jesus, and the celebration promotes the adoration that people all around the world now carry for this replica of the infant Jesus. Reportedly several million Filipinos turned out this year for the celebration in the Philippines. Filipinos in New York have adopted a similar "Sinulog Dance" procession and mass celebration in honor of the Sto Nino.
The Sinulog dances are an important element of the celebration, with the word Sinulog coming from the Cebuano adverb sulog which means “like water current movement.” The dance is accompanied by the sound of the drums:  all the time moving two steps forward followed by one step backward. Though the dance is already very old, the parade  is rather young! 1980 was the first year that the parade was organized. 
While dancing, people are shouting  petitions and thanksgivings to the Santo Niño. Shouting is necessary because the pilgrims have to be sure that they will be heard by the Santo Niño. “Pit Señor! Señor Santo Niño." The Sinulog became indeed a dance ritual in honor of Santo Niño!

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