Huge crowd at the Black Nazarene procession
MANILA, Philippines – The Feast of the Black Nazarene draws hundreds of devotees every year. Legend says a statue of Jesus Christ survived a fire on board a Galleon ship en route to Manila in 1606, turning the ivory image black. Devotees see the icon as a symbol of their suffering and salvation. Many also see it as a miraculous figure.
Bea Cupin reports, as in past years, crowds cause delays in this year’s procession.
Hundreds of thousands of devotees behind me are making a rush to join the procession of the Black Nazarene. This is one of the biggest religious events in the Philippines.
This year's procession though begins a little later than usual, a little past 8 am, and that is because organizers are unable to control the crowd. Devotees rush to get close to the Black Nazarene preventing organizers from attaching a rope that will carry the carriage with the icon of Jesus Christ from the Quirino Grandstand all the way to the Quiapo church.
Now the delay caused by the crowds will be something officials will want to check. After all today's feast is a dry run for the visit of Pope Francis next week. In fact Pope Francis will be leading a mass here at the Quirino Grandstand next week. It's a bit of a frenzy as you can see behind me, as millions of devotees rush to get as close as they can to the carriage that they believe to be miraculous or they see to be a symbol of their suffering. The Black Nazarene is roughly as tall as the average Filipino but the frenzy that surrounds it and the devotion that follows it around are larger than life.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com