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Kuwait Pinoys celebrate ‘Sinulog’ Festival

Photos by Jeff De Castro

Kuwait Pinoys celebrate ‘Sinulog’ Festival
By Michelle Fe Santiago
First Posted in Arab Times 

The mood was all festive. Everyone was dazzling and dressed for the momentous occasion. “Sinulog Siyagit ug Kusog! Pit Senyor, Pit Senyor,” the crowd chanted as Filipino Catholics trooped to the Holy Family Cathedral to celebrate the ‘Sinulog’ Festival.

The Philippines is often called the “Land of Fiestas.” Filipinos love to eat, have fun and enjoy life.

There is always a fiesta going on somewhere in the Philippines throughout the year as each city, town or even barrio (community) has at least one fiesta of its own. Some fiestas are really huge and well-known nationally and internationally that attract many foreign tourists such as the Sinulog Festival.

The Sinulog festival is one of the grandest, most distinguished and most colourful festivals in the Philippines. The major festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honour the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu. It is fundamentally a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino people’s pagan past and their recognition of Christianity.

The festival features some the country’s most colourful displays of ceremony and pageantry. Participants clothe in bright-colored costumes dance to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. The streets are generally lined with vendors and pedestrians all wanting to witness the street-dancing. Smaller versions of the festival are also held in different parts of the province, also to celebrate and honour the Santo Niño.

‘Sinulog’ comes from the Cebuano adverb sulog which is “like water current movement,” which proficiently describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance. Traditionally, the dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of the drums.

The dance is classified into Sinulogbase. Candle vendors at the Basilica continue to perform the traditional version of the dance when lighting a candle for the customer, usually accompanied by songs in the native language.

Among this year’s Sinulog participants in Kuwait were members of various religious groups who were clad in their colourful costumes namely the LOM, OLMM, MHOC, FCCK Dancers, FCCK Group, INLS, PPFI, Companion and the Eucharistic Ministry.

The colourful procession was followed by a brief programme as Parish Priest Rev Fr Monching Atanacio traced the brief history of the feast of the Sto Nino. The festival was capped by a Eucharistic celebration in Filipino led by Fr Monching followed by the blessing of the Sto Nino images. Snacks were also served to the attendees after the mass.