The 2017, the year described here, church

The history behind the arrival of Santo Niño is commonly told, a small Flemish statue of the child Jesus in royal pose was given in 1521 to the king of Cebu, Rajah Humabon, and his consort, Hara Humamay, by Ferdinand Magellan, leader of the Spanish expedition that first circled the globe. Delighted by the image, they were even baptized under the Spanish royal names Carlos and Juana. Soon after, though, Magellan died in battle on a neighboring island, and the Spaniards were forced out. When a group of Spanish colonizers returned in 1565 and fight battle with the natives, the Santo Niño image was found in a hut in a wooden box, having survived the destruction of the village. Perceiving its survival as a miracle, the Spaniards adopted him as their guide and protector. On the site where the image was found, they celebrated Mass and later built the Santo Niño church, the first Catholic church in the Philippines.
They also designated that the finding should be memorialized annually. Fr. Pedro G. Gallende, a historian of the devotion, notes that in the early years the feast was celebrated with a Mass, fluvial parade, feasting, bullfights and fireworks. Indeed, in 2017, the year described here, church posters referred to the Sinulog as the 452nd “Fiesta Señor” (or sometimes, in Cebuano, Senyor). Though the history of the sinulog dance is not entirely clear, a tradition of dancing to the sound of drums for the Santo Niño, including inside and in front of the church, is at least a century old. Locals believe that Hara Humabon herself danced a sinulog with the statue in her arms when she received it, and that she and others continued that form of devotion thereafter. Augustinian priests seem to have adopted the dance to Santo Niño devotion as an evangelization strategy. Awareness of devotion to the Santo Niño of Cebu and the Fiesta Señor spread beyond the Cebu area to the rest of the country after 1965, when the 400th anniversary of Philippine Catholicism was celebrated on a grand scale. The anniversary focused national attention on the site, the devotion and local practice. The Santo Niño church, where the original Santo

Topic: Dance

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Last updated: September 28, 2019


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