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Friday, January 09, 2009

Sto. Niño celebration kicks off today in Intramuros

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon leads today the opening of the month-long celebration of the feast of the Sto. Niño with a grand procession at the Clamshell in Intramuros, Manila .

Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee in tourism, said that the procession of images of the Child Christ is the kick-off event of the nationwide celebration of the Sto. Niño feast every January.

"Filipinos in several parts of the country are now preparing for their respective festivals in honor of the Sto. Niño," he said.

"Here in Intramuros, we are going to celebrate the event through a procession where all houses and establishments inside the Walled City were decorated with images of the Child Christ as a show of participation in the celebration," he added.

Gordon, a long-time devotee of the Sto. Nino, explained that most famous Philippine festivals are done in honor of the Sto. Niño, which is a symbol of the Filipino people's Christianization.

He said the history of the Sto. Niño festival dates back in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan introduced Christianity to the people of Cebu and offered a Sto. Niño image as a baptismal gift to Rajah Humabon's wife, Hara Amihan.

Various festivals such as Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, Sinulog in Cebu City , and Dinagyang in Iloilo City , among others, all celebrate the Filipino Catholics' devotion to the Sto. Niño.

Gordon deployed full support for the promotion of these festivals especially when he was tourism secretary.

He said that the Intramuros event, which is a first in the Walled City , is also a show of support and a promotion of the Sto. Nino festivals nationwide since it would feature presentations similar to the famous festivities.

"The devotion of Filipinos to the Sto Nino is an essential part of our Christian history. It is only fitting that we celebrate this devotion not only as a sign of reverence to the Child Christ but also in respect to the Filipino tradition," Gordon said.

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