The Black Nazarene: A ritual of faith among frenzy
MANILA, Philippines - To the outsider, the Feast of the Black Nazarene may look like an extreme religious ritual. But for devotees, suffering is a badge of honor. Devon Wong reports.
There doesn't seem to be any method to the madness. Frenzied worshippers climb over one another to grab at what they believe is their chance at a miracle.
DEVON WONG, REPORTING: I'm in Quiapo to witness my first Feast Day of the Black Nazarene. It's a daunting spectacle, and to the outside eye it looks more like a stampede than an act of worship. But for the devotees, they say that suffering through the Nazarene is wearing a badge of honor.
Mark Puyao became a devotee three years ago when he was invited by his friends to the event. He says he will continue to come because he believes the Nazarene hears his prayers.
MARK PUYAO, DEVOTEE: All my prayers are answered because of Him. And He gives my family good health.
The strong faith of devotees keeps them returning to the event each year. For some, it's a family tradition. Gloria Kayunda has attended the Nazarene since 1979 to pay homage to the statue. It may seem like an extreme religious ritual to some, but Gloria disagrees.
GLORIA KAYUNDA, DEVOTEE: Us Filipinos are not like that. If it's about faith, it's about faith for us.
(What are you praying for this year?) To have our own house, because we were affected by typhoon Ondoy. We live far. We come from Santa Maria Bulacan. We're hoping to have a relocation.
It's the individual hopes and prayers surging into a collective active of piety that makes the Black Nazarene a powerful event. It may look like chaos from here, but perhaps it makes more sense to someone from a higher place. Devon Wong, Rappler, Quiapo