The Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo in Manila is a grand celebration that commenced on Saturday with the vibrant procession of the image of the child Jesus, also known as ‘Lakbayaw’. This annual event takes place every third Sunday of January and holds immense religious significance, similar to the renowned Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church.
The festivities of the Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo encompass a wide array of activities, including daylong processions, ati-atihan (a traditional Philippine festival), lively street dancing, and solemn masses. These events bring together devotees and participants from all walks of life, creating an atmosphere of unity and devotion.
To kick-start the day’s celebrations, Rev. Geronimo Reyes, the rector and parish priest of the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Tondo, presided over a mass at 6 a.m. This early morning gathering served as a spiritual foundation for the day’s events, setting the tone for the devotion and reverence that would follow.
Following the mass, a procession took place an hour later, where the image of the Sto. Niño de Tondo was carried through the streets of Manila. The procession is a significant highlight of the celebration, as it symbolizes the faithful’s desire to honor and pay homage to the child Jesus. Devotees fervently join the procession, expressing their deep faith and seeking blessings for themselves and their loved ones.
The Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Manila. It is a time when the community comes together to celebrate their shared faith and heritage, transcending boundaries of age, social status, and background. The vibrant street dancing and ati-atihan performances showcase the rich cultural traditions of the Philippines, captivating both locals and visitors alike.
Beyond its religious and cultural significance, the Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo also provides an opportunity for reflection and personal growth. The masses held throughout the day offer a chance for individuals to deepen their spiritual connection and find solace in their faith. It is a time for prayer, introspection, and gratitude, as devotees seek guidance and strength from the child Jesus.
While the Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo is deeply rooted in the local customs and traditions of Manila, its message of devotion and unity resonates with people from all corners of the globe. The celebration serves as a reminder of the universal nature of faith and the power of community in fostering a sense of belonging and purpose.
In conclusion, the Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo is a remarkable religious event that brings together the people of Manila in a spirit of devotion and celebration. From the vibrant processions to the captivating street dancing, this annual festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines while providing a platform for personal growth and spiritual connection. Regardless of one’s background or beliefs, the Feast of the Sto. Niño de Tondo serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring power of faith and the importance of community.
Source: The Manila Times