The Sto. Niño, a well-loved religious figure among Catholic Filipino families, had his day out in glorious style on Sunday, January 27, as the 39th annual Sto. Niño grand procession took place in Pasay City. Traffic literally came to a halt as beautifully dressed figures of the Child Jesus mounted on well-decorated carrozas traversed Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Extension through Roxas Boulevard.
Devotees proudly walking with their Child Jesus images also dressed up in colorful costumes. A marching band and young people dressed up in Ati-atihan costumes added to the uniquely Filipino celebration on the streets.
The festival is organized annually by the Congregacion del Santissima Nombre del Niño Jesus under its founding chairman, fashion designer Ben Ferrales.
Some of the images even came from abroad and brought by its owners to the Philippines specifically for the event. Though the procession is a visual spectacle—with images ranging from the Child Jesus in expensive finery to the more humble ones brought straight from family altars—organizers say the parade is for everyone regardless of social status or age so long as one is a devotee of the Sto. Niño.
“It is really more of a thanksgiving for all the answered prayers and miracles he (the Sto. Niño) has granted us,” a devotee told InterAksyon.
Another devotee pointed out that the Child Jesus is a reminder for Christians to live out their lives as purely as possible, with the child-like appreciation for simple blessings and everyday graces.
Besides Sunday’s rite, an exhibit of around 800 images of the Sto. Niño, is ongoing on the third floor of the PNB Building at the CCP Complex until January 31.