Mindy's Musings: The Rundown

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I spent the whole weekend in front of my computer hoping for an inspiration worth a thousand words-- literally and figuratively. But there I was staring at a blank page for hours. I thought, I still have a day away to beat the deadline. Then I slept on that state of chronic procrastination. I guess that's even worse than a writer's block. In times like these, the serious attempt to kick a start (or the lack there of) proves to be even more burdensome. Eventually, all I needed to get over the spell was the clock ticking its way to the deadline. Soon, the sudden rush of adrenaline enabled words to flow naturally while I pondered.

Feasts kick off

The Philippines, being a country of diverse cultures, has matched its identity with various celebrations portraying local beliefs and traditions. A few years back, I had a chance to witness one of the most popular religious feasts in the Philippines--the Feast of the Black Nazarene. I was there observing the stream of barefoot devotees dressed in maroon in honor of the miraculously endowed image of Jesus Christ. The annual celebration of faith of the devotees of the Black Nazarene has become the center of attention if not the most overwhelming religious event in the country. I remember that experience well as it showed me the extent of spiritual devotion that has since been central to Filipino faith life.

Viva Pit Señor!

Did you know that the image of Sto. Niño is the oldest religious image brought by the Spaniards in the country? That’s right. Historical records say that upon the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu, the wooden image of Sto. Niño was offered to Rajah Humabon’s wife when she was baptized and named Juana in 1521. Today, the image is enshrined in the 16th century church Basilica Minore del Santo Niño located in Cebu.

Aside from the annual feast of the Nazarene, the month of January also has a roster of feasts in honor of the Child Jesus or the Sto. Niño. Festivities culminating on the third Sunday of the month are devoted to the Holy Child Jesus in different cities and provinces. Each of them boast grandeur through dancing, fluvial processions, and parades. Cebuanos celebrate the Sinulog Festival which highlights the performance of the traditional Sinulog dance along with the grand street celebration, while Aklanons are popularly known as hosts of the grandest and wildest fiesta in the country, the Ati-atihan Festival. In Iloilo, the colorful feast of Señor Santo Niño is known as Dinagyang Festival, while Sto. Niño de Tondo Festival is observed in the City of Manila through a fluvial procession.

Throughout the years, these events serve not only as a commemoration of sacred history among Catholics but also as means to help strengthen their beliefs and understand what these mean to them. And most importantly, the festivities have become a medium to showcase the Filipinos’ indigenous culture and solidarity.

Cycle of the Ox

Speaking of celebrations, I might as well mention that the Chinese New Year falls on the 26th of January this year. Based on the Chinese lunar calendar, year 2009 is a Brown Earth Cow Year. I know you’re just as curious as I am to know what’s on the horoscope in the coming year. Whatever it is, I hope it will be nothing more than what we can handle. Wish us luck!

For your comments, suggestions, and inquiries e-mail me at mindy@wikipilipinas.org Also, you can visit Mindy’s Blog at WikiPilipinas <www.wikipilipinas.org>.

See Mindy's column archive