Religious Observances in January: Black Nazarene/ Twentieth Day

Some of the stories behind religious observances around the world are pretty interesting, such as the Feast of the Black Nazarene that takes place in the Philippines. In this article, you will learn more about this holiday in Manila, as well as the meaning behind the Twentieth Day celebration.
Feast of the Black Nazarene , January 9

In the Philippines, January 9 is set aside for the feast of the Black Nazarene , one of the most popular holidays in the culture. Every year, thousands of devotees travel to the district of Quiapo to take part in a procession that involves people from all walks of life. The purpose of the procession is to strengthen their faith or to fulfill a vow to Lord.

The Black Nazarene is the patron saint of Quiapo. At the Saint John de Baptist Church in Quiapo, there is a life-size image of the Black Nazarene, which depicts a “black” Jesus Christ carrying a cross. Since 1787, this location has been known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. On the day of the procession and Good Friday, the image is brought out.

Traveling by ship, the statue was transported to Manila with the help of a Spanish priest. However, the ship caught on fire and the image became burned. This is how it became known as the Black Nazarene. While the image was burnt, the people chose to preserve and honor it. Ever since, people claim to have experienced miracles after touching the image.

The celebration begins when a huge door of Quiapo Church opens and the image of the Black Nazarene comes into view. In the crowd, devotees will shout “Viva Senor.” For the procession, the statue moves in a gilded carriage. Participants of the procession are dressed in maroon, as they pull two long ropes to make the carriage move. Many will try to touch the image while others toss handkerchiefs and towels into the air. As a sign of humility, people will walk with the procession in their bare feet.

Filipino Catholics have shown their devotion to the Black Nazarene for hundreds of years. They believe that their faith will keep them out of harm’s way, give them a prosperous life full of joy, and create peace and harmony amongst families. The region of Quiapo is small, but is well known throughout Manila, which is a gathering spot for trade and commerce. The Quiapo market and other places also make it a favorite amongst tourists and travelers.

Twentieth Day , January 13

In Norway, the Twentieth Day marks the end of Christmas festivities. Many countries end their celebrations on Epiphany, while Norwegians continue until January 13, which is the twentieth day of Christmas, as well as the feast day of St. Canute. There is a saying in the country that “twentieth-day Canute drives away Christmas.” Some of the traditions associated with this holiday and the days leading up to it include the making of “Christmas beer,” the serving of krumkake, butchering of a pig, baking seven Christmas cakes, and traditional meals.