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Filipino and Austrian devotees came in droves on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy church in Vienna’s 10th District to pay homage to the Sto. Niño and to celebrate the Sinulog Festival. The annual Feast of the Sto. Nino and Sinulog Festival is organized by the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy and the Kapunongan ng mga Bisaya sa Austria (KBA), under the leadership of Mr. Romeo Jumalon, KBA President.
The festival highlighted dances of the Filipinos’ pagan past and their embrace of Christianity.
The event was also attended by the new Filipino Ambassador to Austria Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad and other embassy officials.
„This event is an opportunity to meet the Filipino community in Austria. Allow me to congratulate the devotees of Senyor Sto. Nino as well as the officers and members of KBA for organizing this year‘s Sinulog sa Vienna,“ the ambassador said.
Fr. Ely Dalanon likewise blessed all the Santo Nino images and icons. After the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the devotees performed the ritual dance to the beat of the drums, holding their personal icon of the Sto. Nino in a synchronized two-steps-forward-one-step-backward rhythmn of the Sinulog movement, chanting “PIT SENYOR!” repeatedly.
After the simple lunch provided by the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy, group dance presentations followed which featured participants in their vibrant coloured costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. The dances portrayed the historical celebration of Sinulog, as well as the different cultural devotions to the Santo Niño from various parts of the Philippines.
Sto. Nino inspires devotees
„Maraming naitulong sa akin ang Sto. Nino sa buong buhay ko. Kaya sa kanya ako dumadaing, nagdadasal humihingi ng tulong,“ Emma C., a devotees of Sto. Nino commented.
„Malapit sa akin ang Sto. Nino dahil sa kanyang katangian bilang isang bata. Magiging bata sa pananampalataya, sa pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay. Just be humble, like the child Jesus!“ Shiela S. another Sto. Nino devotees said.
“Sto. Nino is important for us because I am a Visayan and we have a real devotion to Sto. Nino. And I believe that the child Jesus is always protecting us,” another devotee commented.
„Mahalaga sa akin ang Sto. Nino dahil siya ang nagbibigay sa akin ng biyaya at nagmamahal hindi lamang sa akin kundi sa buong Pilipinas,“ Maureen, a Sto. Nino devotee said.
„Sto. Nino gives us hope. I am so happy to be here today and be a part of this religious celebration,“ Diana, an austrian devotee said.
The Filipino Chaplaincy thanked and congratulated the organizers and all those who contributed to the success of the celebration.
A nine-day novena mass was held prior to the fiesta at the Filipino Catholic Church in Vienna.
Sinulog has been celebrated annually in Austria for the past years organized by the Kapunungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria and the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy.
Sinulog Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Philippines which was held every 3rd Sunday of January in Cebu City to give honor to Senor Sto. Nino. This great Filipino celebration event would be comparable to the annual Mardi Gras parade held in the American city of New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival in Brazil, minus the sexual overtones and booze party.
The Cebu Sinulog festival is a much more conservative and religious event drawing thousands of spectators and tourists from around the world as well as being an annual homecoming reunion event for many Filipinos.
The Sinulog feast is being held to honor the Sto. Nino, or the child Jesus. It is fundamentally a dance ritual which commemorates both the Filipino people’s pagan past and their embrace of Christianity.
— Hector Pascua, philippine-press/abs-cbnnews, austria
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