09 January 2006

black nazarene

today, 09 january, is the feast day of the black nazarene. long to short story, thousands of devotees flock to quiapo most of them on barefoot to join the procession where the life-size statue of Christ on a wheel-less carriage is pulled through the streets of quiapo. there is usually a huge number of people who join the procession in the hopes of touching the statue or at least have their towels rubbed agaist the statue. it has been reported that some people get cured of their disease or illness if they get to touch the statue or anything that has touched the statue.

no i didn't join the procession. i had work and it was traffic along the way. even if i didn't have work, i still wouldn't go. if you're not a black nazarene devotee, the huge mass of people would scare you. i mean the streets are filled to the brim by people.

i did get to join one procession, involuntarily, many years ago. i was on my way home and i have to go through quiapo to get there. and here i am oblivious to the world, not noticing the growing number of people around me. i just thought that they, like me, were waiting for a ride home.

then there were some people shouting and before i knew it i was pressed tight against a wall by this mass of people in a semi-organized stampede/procession dragging the wheel-less carriage of the black nazarene. i couldn't hear anything but the shouts and prayers of the participants. i couldn't see anything except the maroon shirts the devotees were wearing. and it was hard to breath.

and as quickly as it came, it was gone. barefooted devotees who got what they wanted started walking for home wherever that may be. i started walking for home too.

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