Santo Niño has long been the image of Catholicism in the Philippines as the young Jesus Christ. Images, figurines, and statues drawn, molded, or carved in his image are knowingly prominent on every nook of every Catholic family’s home and in all Catholic churches in recognition of the Savior.
However, during the celebration of Santo Niño’s feast, he becomes not only stagnantly seen inside these homes and churches but also highly visible on the crowded, colorful and festive streets of the Philippines.
Sinulog Festival in Cebu
One of the celebrations of the Santo Niño is the annual Sinulog Festival in Cebu City and is dubbed as the biggest festival in the Philippines as thousands of people from different parts of the country and even balikbayans gather for the huge event. All for a good reason!
Sinulog is jammed with the country’s most colorful showcase of ceremonies and pageantries with participants in their vibrant costumes while they dance along to the lively rhythm of the instruments. Accordingly, these dance routines being performed in the festival are rituals meant to represent the Filipino people’s acceptance of Christianity in their nation.
Kahimunan Festival in Butuan
Traveling to the northeastern valleys of the Agusan province, Butuan City also annually celebrates the feast of Santo Niño through the Kahimunan Festival. The background of the celebration, however, is of a different cause from that of Sinulog’s.
While Sinulog is centered on the acceptance of Christianity in the country, Kahimunan dwells on the founding of the Santo Niño in Barangay Libertad where the famous Sto. Niño parish stands up until today.
Butuan’s Kahimunan Festival is also about the expression of gratitude before the start of the planting season. Similarly this gratitude is shown through the chanting, singing, and the playing of indigenous musical instruments.
Wherever the place and whichever the reason, Santo Niño is celebrated with much joy and vibrance reflecting Filipinos’ bright spirits.
Viva Pit Señor!