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àHector Pascua, ABS-CBN NEWS, philippine-press.com, Pictures: Randy Ilagan, hpascua
Filipinos and Austrian devotees came in droves on Sunday, January 20, 2019 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.
The festival highlighted dances of the Filipinos’ pagan past and their embrace of Christianity.
„The Sinulog is one of the grandest and most colorful festivals in the Philippines. The main festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honor the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu. It is essentially a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino people’s pagan past and their acceptance of Christianity,” Alex Chiong, past president and now adviser of the Kapunungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria (KBA) explained.
„The Kapunungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria in cooperation with the Filipino Chaplaincy embraced the idea of having a Sinulog Festival in Vienna, where we can express our adoration to the Infant Jesus through dances, songs and sharing of Filipino delicacies,“ Nancy Posch, former President of KBA said in her opening remarks.
Philippine Embassy officials and staff, headed by Philippine Ambassador to Austria Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad and various Filipino communities participated in the Sinulog. The celebration began with a Mass and a blessing of Santo Niño images.
„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 of the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy 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.
„Maraming naitulong sa akin ang Sto. Nino sa buong buhay ko. Kaya sa kanya ako dumadaing, nagdadasal humihingi ng tulong,“ Maureen Ramos, a devotee of Sto. Nino commented.
„Akoy nagpapasalamat sa mag blessings na natanggap namin,“ Geraldine Cabucos, a devotee said.
„Maraming ibinigigay na biyaya ng Panginoon sa amin kaya kami sumasayaw sa kanyang kapistahan bilang pasasalamat sa kanyang mga grasyang ipinagkaloob sa amin,“ Evelyn Müller Mijares, Adviser of KBA 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.
Austrians who attended the festival lauded the Filipino community for imparting good values through the observance of religious festivities. They noted that this is only one among many contributions of the Filipino community to multicultural Austria.
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.
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