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things, in a few years time, I may totally miss about the fiesta señor

Posted by vip on Sunday, 16-January-2011

Things, in a few years time, I may totally miss about the fiesta señor

1) Just the “pit señor”. Everybody’s already been adding the “viva”, even in the basilica itself, where before it used to be this stand-alone greeting: pit señor! yes, sangpit is really the leading contender for what the salutation pit means, unless there’s a really old cebuano word pit. but since the sto. niño tradition of dance and candles is not really that old, it just must have been the shortening of sangpit. whatever viva sangpit señor is still absurd

2) Sinu…(l)og the dance. During my grade school and high school days – and even a short while like ten years ago, when the carroza passes by during the procession, people on the sidelines shouted “pit señor”, many times over as we imitate the sinug dance, with whatever we’re holding, usually a candle or a handkerchip. Now, people just wave at the niño, as they probably would do, too, for Piolo Pascual. We’ve done away with a tradition so thoroughly unique to the Cebu worship of the Sto. Niño.

I suspect a newcomer to the rites thought people ought to cheer the niño and conceived of them waving, simply because he or she had not witnessed the sinu(l)og at all before and did not know the older sinulog tradition.

3) The sinulog being the sinulog on its own. Years from now we’ll all be calling it a “mardi gras”. That term will then totally win out when the Sinulog itself gets to be celebrated on the Tuesday.

4) Traslacion. Three or four years ago, somebody began to use “translacion” to refer to the transfer of the niño to mandaue, honestly thinking he was right of course, but thoughtlessly relegating the old, and correct, term to the bins of history. Thankfully now everyone’s awakened to the fact that we’d always called it traslacion. I hope at least “traslacion” do get fully reinstated. Even as a new traslacion has been added to the tradition – the transfer of the virgin from Guadalupe to the basilica, and then accompanying the niño going to mandaue to join San Jose, the patron saint of that city.

5) Poor old San Vidal. The ancient Cebu City fiesta and cathedral procession must have taken place on San Vidal day, the patron saint of the cathedral and the ciudad del santísimo nombre de Jesús. Celebrations later, the Sto Niño was introduced into the picture as the Agustinians translated the image the short distance from San Agustin (which everybody referred to the church until it became the basilica del sto niño in 1965 or -6) to the cathedral and from there to join the San Vidal procession on San Vidal Day, the fiesta of the city.

When worship of the Sto Niño, or the child Jesus, became very popular all over Christendom, the Catholic Church set a day especially for it, and Cebu and everywhere else began to celebrate the fiesta on Sto. Niño Day. And the Sto. Niño procession little by little became the procession for Cebu City, now an official fiesta with its own day.

And San Vidal? And Cebu City? All you parishioners from outside Cebu City: Have you ever wondered why, for the fiesta of the city, the procession does not start from the parish church – which of course is the cathedral? That’s the reason.

Ask Dr. Michael Cullinane for more details.


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