1.5M devotees join 20-hour Black Nazarene procession

1.5M devotees join 20-hour Black Nazarene procession
(UPDATED) The religious procession takes an estimated 20 hours from the Quirino Grandstand where it started off before 6 am Saturday, January 9

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – An estimated 1.5 million devotees filled the strees of central Manila during the 20-hour Black Nazarene procession Saturday, January 9.

The Black Nazarene reached its home at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or the Quiapo Church at 2:02 am on Sunday, January 10, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its 8 am update.

The procession started before 6 am Saturday, January 9, at the Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta in Manila – with the official NDRRMC figure putting the procession’s duration at 20 hours, 6 minutes, and 45 seconds.

In 2015, the Traslacion also took about 20 hours, starting out at a later time, 8:00 am, on January 9, and officially ending at 4 am on January 10.  

PLAZA MIRANDA. The Black Nazarene reaches Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila at 1:55 am on Sunday, January 10. Photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

Millions of devotees joined the annual procession that is hailed by Church leaders as a vibrant expression of faith. Of the country’s estimated 100 million people, 80% are Catholics.

OUTSIDE QUIAPO CHURCH. Devotees await the arrival of the Black Nazarene on Sunday, January 10. Photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

Two devotees died at the sidelines of the procession – 27-year-old Alex Fulyedo and 58-year-old Mauro Arabit, a candle vendor. 

The Philippine Red Cross reported having assisted close to 1,300 devotees. Over 500 were treated for wounds, abrasions, dizziness and bruises. The NDRRMC recorded a total of 831 patients given medical aid. Ten of the patients were brought to hospitals in the area for further medical treatment.

The procession was previously expected to end at 4:15 am, but as the night wore on, the number of devotees taking part in the religious journey became less. This allowed a faster movement of devotees, with arrival estimates advanced to 1:52 am by 1 am of Sunday.

A jostling crowd slowed down the entry of the Black Nazarene into the Quiapo Church, as church leaders led by parish priest Monsignor Hernando Coronel barked orders to make way for the religious icon.

By 2:02 am, the Nazarene was back home. 

Crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, the Nazarene statue was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607, early on in Spain’s 400-year colonial rule.

It is believed by some to have been partially burnt and blackened when the galleon carrying it caught fire on a voyage from Mexico, another Spanish colony at the time. – With reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com

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