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Señor Santo Niño de Cebu

The Sinulog Festival in the Philippines: PIT SENYOR & Grateful Hearts!

By: Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan

Sinulog Festival Procession

Sinulog Festival Procession

PIT SENYOR! The Sinulog Festival is one of the most interesting times of the year for Filipinos; especially for the devotees of the Holy Infant Jesus of Cebu.

Wherever you are in Cebu, you’ll be reading and hearing the catchy phrase ‘Pit Senyor!”’all over. Pit is a contraption of the Philippine vernacular ‘Sangpit’ meaning ‘to call upon’. Senyor, on the other hand, is an endearment to the Holy Infant Jesus of Cebu. Sinulog means ‘like water current movement’; it actually describes the dance movement of the festival. Watch this video to get an impression of the Sinulog Festival:

The festival takes place in Cebu, the second largest city in the Philippines. It takes place every third Sunday of January but when you’re there, you’ll experience a weeklong celebration involving just about everyone! This year, an estimated 3 million people flocked to join Sinulog to give thanks and praise to the Holy Infant Jesus.

Sinulog Festival Fluvial Procession

Sinulog Festival Fluvial Procession

The Sinulog Festival: A Deep Sense of Faith

But underneath the merry-making and the bustling noise of the festival, lies a story that is deeply rooted in the faith of its believers. The oral tradition tells that locals would often see a curly-haired little boy covered with soot who would roam around the place. This would happen at the time that the statue of the Holy Infant Jesus would mysteriously disappear.

Señor Santo Niño de Cebu

Señor Santo Niño de Cebu

Accordingly, the soot-covered boy would go about telling a dying person that he’s already healed or fetching a priest to say a prayer for a troubled family but would mysteriously disappear. And so the Holy Infant Jesus of Cebu is believed to be miraculous; thus the huge number of devotees to this festival. The event actually sees many Filipinos who have migrated to other countries, come home for the celebrations.

Although admittedly, one can only understand the deep sense of faith when one is present in the whole course of the festivity.

The Sinulog Festival: Mass, Procession & Dance

The Sinulog festivity features various traditional activities: other than holding a Catholic Liturgical Mass, a Fluvial Procession for the veneration of the Holy Infant Jesus on the eve of the 3rd Sunday is being joined by a huge number of locals and tourists.

The highlight, however, happens on the night after the procession when devotees sing and dance in front of the church to sing their prayers for their loved ones. Just listening to the songs that devotees offer with the well-wishes for the persons they love most is enough to make a by-stander infected with the joyful beat and stomp along with a happy heart!

There are numerous facets that one is yet to uncover in the Sinulog Festival, so once an outsider gets there, an irresistible feeling of having to come back for the next year’s festival is absolutely hard to ignore.

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