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Monday, January 18, 2010

UNIQUELY PINOY: THE GREAT FEAST OF THE HOLY CHILD OF CEBU



"Pit Señor!"

These are the words that ring out in the Basilica and in the streets of Cebu, as devotees and on-lookers alike celebrate the Feast of the Santo Niño of Cebu.

 "Pit Señor!" is a shortened form of the Cebuano prayer to the Lord "Sangpit Señor!" or "Hear my Lord!" , a prayer of supplication of the devotees who dance the Sinulog or religious dance.  This dance has its pagan origins where according to historians was danced by native Cebuanos before the Christianization of the island and of the country.  Natives would dance holding their idols.  But after the arrival of Magellan, the newly baptized natives continued the tradition and offered the dance to the Child-King-God!




The Philippines is the only country in the world which the Holy See approved a special liturgical feast for th Holy Child.    It is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of the month of January or the week after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The Santo Niño of Cebu pre-dates the Infant Jesus of Prague.  The Cebu icon was given as a gift on 1565 while the Prague image can trace its origins in 1628.

Like the Prague image, devotees (like me) attest to the miracles and graces they have received through the image.  My family and I received a special favor from the Holy Child after I made a pilgrimage to Cebu.

Here is the miraculous image where image is kept.



At the base of the image is a small reliquary where you can find the relic of the True Cross.  Devotees kiss this also.

Here is a photo of the main altar of the Basilica.  The retablo is the original one and survived the liturgical frenzy of the '60s.


 The image of the Santo Nino is on the left side altar while the tabernacle is on the right side of the altar. (I can only speculate why.  I'll keep it to myself.)

You can see in one of the niches an image of the Santo Nino, second row from the top, right above the crucifix.  It is a replica.  The saints in the other niches are Augustinian saints, the basilica being under the care of the Augustinians.  One side chapel features a huge frame containing reliquaries of these saints.

A piazza, if I may call it, was built in front of the Basilica to accommodate the large number of devotees who come to Mass every Friday, which is assigned as the day novena masses are held.



 
For more interesting articles about the Holy Child of Cebu...
   The Wikipedia entry
    The official website of the Minor Basilica of the Santo Niño 
    More before and after photos of the Basilica
   Interesting history of the Image
   International Association of Devotees
   

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