The Feast of Black Nazarene Philippines

The Feast of Black Nazarene Philippines

Annually on January 9, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is observed in the Philippines, marking the revered transfer of a life-sized effigy of Jesus Christ, bearing the True Cross, to the Minor Basilica in Quiapo, Manila. This significant event attracts millions of Filipino Catholics, who participate in the Traslación procession, a testament to their deep faith and devotion.

The Black Nazarene is celebrated for its miraculous abilities to heal illnesses and fulfil the supplications of the faithful. The procession, lasting between 18 to 22 hours, sees a vast assembly of devotees, particularly from among the impoverished, who eagerly strive to touch or accompany the sacred statue.

This gathering is not just a display of religious fervour but a collective expression of endurance, hope, and zeal, reflecting the profound spiritual solidarity and resilience of the Filipino populace.

Key Takeaways

  • The Feast of Black Nazarene was established in the 17th century by Augustinian Recollects.
  • It highlights the revered Black Nazarene image, symbolizing historical importance.
  • Festivities unfold through different activities leading up to January 9.
  • The Traslacion procession, spanning 6.5 kilometers, incorporates devout customs and traditions.

The Feast of Black Nazarene Philippines At A Glance

FactsBrief Explanation
Name of the festivalFeast of the Black Nazarene
Type of festivalReligious
City of originManila, Philippines
Festival EtymologyNamed after the revered statue of the Black Nazarene, a dark wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ is believed to have miraculous powers.
The date when it was celebrated firstJanuary 9, 1787
Dates when this festival is celebrated every yearJanuary 9
Founder of the FestivalReverend Salazar
Brief history of the festivalThe Feast of the Black Nazarene commemorates the transfer of the Black Nazarene statue from Intramuros to Quiapo Church in 1787. It attracts millions of devotees who participate in a procession, believing in the statue’s miraculous ability to heal illnesses and grant prayers. The festival reflects the deep Catholic faith and Filipino spirituality.
Brief history of the city where it is celebratedManila, the capital city of the Philippines, has a rich history dating back to the 16th century when it was a colony of Spain. It has been a center of political, economic, social, and cultural activities, playing a significant role in the country’s history as the site of several significant events, including the Philippine Revolution and the Battle of Manila.
Ethnic information of the city and regionPredominantly Filipino, with a diverse mix of ethnic groups including Tagalog, Chinese, and Spanish influences.
Location of the city in the countryManila is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay, on the island of Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.
How to reach the cityFly into Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which serves Manila. From the airport, taxis, buses, and jeepneys are available to take you into the city.
Nearby and surrounding cities or towns and their distance from the city of the festival– Quezon City (~14 km to the northeast)
– Makati City (~7 km to the south)
-Pasay City (~8 km to the south)
– Caloocan City (~10 km to the north)
Google map link to the city locationManila, Philippines on Google Maps
Festival main events and activities– Procession of the Black Nazarene statue
– Masses and prayer vigils
– Pahalik (kissing of the statue)
– Devotional practices like walking barefoot
Famous tourist attractions and landmarks in the cityIntramuros – The historic walled area known as the “Walled City.”
Rizal Park – A historical park dedicated to the national hero, Jose Rizal.
Fort Santiago – A citadel first built by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi.
Famous food dishes of the cityAdobo – A popular Filipino dish made with meat marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and spices.
Halo-halo – A mixed ice dessert with various ingredients like fruits, beans, and ice cream.
Lechon – Roasted pig served during special occasions and festivals.
Related festivals in the same regionSinulog Festival – Cebu City
Ati-Atihan Festival – Aklan
Dinagyang Festival – Iloilo City

Feast of Black Nazarene Philippines History and Significance

The Feast of the Black Nazarene, held annually on January 9th in the Philippines, is a deeply rooted religious event that draws millions of Filipino Catholics to Quiapo, Manila. This feast is centred around the veneration of a life-sized, dark wooden statue of Jesus Christ, known as the Black Nazarene, which is believed to possess miraculous powers.

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The Black Nazarene was originally brought to the Philippines from Mexico in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The statue is carved from dark wood, and its dark color is attributed to it having survived a fire on the ship that brought it to the Philippines, which has been interpreted by many devotees as a sign of its divine power.

The statue found its permanent home in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, in 1787.

The tradition of the Traslación, the procession commemorating the transfer of the statue from its original shrine in Intramuros to the Minor Basilica in Quiapo, began in the 18th century. This annual procession reenacts the statue’s transfer and has grown over the centuries to become one of the largest religious gatherings in the country.


The Feast of the Black Nazarene is a manifestation of the Filipino people’s deep Catholic faith and their enduring devotion to Jesus Christ. The event is particularly significant for many because of the belief in the statue’s miraculous ability to heal illnesses and provide aid in times of need.

Devotees participate in the procession in the hope of touching the statue or the ropes used to pull its carriage, believing that this act can bring blessings, healing, and answered prayers.

The Traslación is more than just a religious event; it is a cultural phenomenon that showcases the Filipinos’ capacity for suffering, patience, and unwavering faith. The intense devotion displayed during the feast, especially by the poor and the suffering, reflects a collective sense of hope and resilience amidst life’s challenges.

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Depiction and Devotion

Depicted in the image of the Black Nazarene is Jesus carrying a cross in genuflection, stirring profound devotion among Filipino Catholics. This portrayal has been central to the religious fervor surrounding the Feast of Black Nazarene.

Nevertheless, debates have surfaced regarding the image’s historical accuracy and the symbolism it conveys. Three pivotal points to consider include:

  1. Authenticity: Scholars have raised doubts about the accuracy of the Black Nazarene’s depiction, suggesting it may not align with historical records.
  2. Symbolism: The image’s dark skin tone, attributed to the wood it was carved from, carries a symbolic weight that deeply resonates with devotees.
  3. Devotional Practices: Despite any controversy surrounding its depiction, the Black Nazarene continues to ignite fervent devotion and spiritual connection among believers.

Feast Activities Schedule

The Feast of the Black Nazarene is celebrated with a series of religious and communal events that lead up to the main procession on January 9th. These activities are designed to foster spiritual unity among devotees and to prepare them for the grand event.

Here’s a schedule of the key activities associated with the Feast of the Black Nazarene:

December 31 to January 8: Novena Prayers and Community Gatherings

  • Novena Prayers: Devotees participate in Novena prayers dedicated to the Black Nazarene starting from December 31st. These prayers are held daily and are a time for reflection, penance, and preparation for the feast day.
  • Community Gatherings: In addition to the prayers, there are community gatherings and activities that aim to strengthen the bond between the devotees and the community. These gatherings may include charitable acts, community service, and sharing of meals.
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January 7: Replica Procession

  • Two days before the main procession, a Replica Procession takes place. This event allows those who may not be able to participate in the main procession to venerate and pay homage to replicas of the Black Nazarene. It’s a more accessible event that still captures the spirit of devotion and reverence.

January 9: The Feast Day – Traslación

  • Morning Mass: The day begins with a morning mass at the Quirino Grandstand or at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila. This mass is usually led by high-ranking clergy and is attended by thousands of devotees.
  • Traslación Procession: The highlight of the Feast is the Traslación, a solemn and arduous procession that moves the life-sized statue of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand back to its home in the Minor Basilica. Spanning approximately 6.5 kilometres, this procession can last from 18 to 22 hours, drawing millions of participants.
    • Barefoot Walking: Many devotees choose to walk barefoot during the procession as a sign of humility and solidarity with Jesus Christ’s suffering.
    • Dungaw Tradition: Along the procession route, people participate in the “Dungaw” tradition, where residents of buildings along the route lean out of windows or stand on balconies to catch a glimpse of the Black Nazarene and receive blessings.
    • Prayer Stations: Several prayer stations are set up along the procession route where participants can stop to pray and reflect.

Travel Information and Resources

Planning to attend the Feast of Black Nazarene and need travel information and resources? Fly into Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and hop in a cab for a 20-30 minute ride to Quiapo Church, the event’s main location. Buses are also accessible at NAIA Terminal 3 for different transport options.

For lodging, reach out to St. John the Baptist Parish for nearby accommodation suggestions. Stay updated on the event by visiting Make your visit hassle-free and enjoyable with these travel tips and details.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Local Authorities Ensure the Safety and Security of the Millions of Devotees During the Feast of Black Nazarene?

Local authorities ensure the safety and security of millions of devotees during the Feast of Black Nazarene by implementing strict safety measures and effective crowd control strategies. They employ crowd management plans, set up medical assistance stations, deploy security personnel, and coordinate with relevant agencies to maintain order and protect the worshippers.

Are There Any Specific Requirements or Guidelines for Those Who Wish to Participate in the Traslacion Barefoot Walk?

Guidelines for joining the Traslacion barefoot walk encompass wearing suitable attire, demonstrating devotion, and ensuring physical readiness. Participants are expected to maintain the solemnity of the procession, stick to specified routes, and prioritize safety measures. Adhering to these guidelines ensures a profound and secure experience.

Are There Any Notable Miracles or Extraordinary Events Associated With the Black Nazarene Image Throughout History?

Historical records chronicle countless miraculous occurrences connected to the Black Nazarene image. Folklore and urban legends are replete with stories of healing, safeguarding, and fulfilled prayers credited to their divine influence. These narratives enhance the tapestry of its importance.

How Does the Cofradia De Jesus Nazareno Continue to Maintain and Preserve the Black Nazarene Statue for Future Generations?

The Cofradia de Jesus Nazareno ensures the preservation of the Black Nazarene statue through regular maintenance, secure storage, and adherence to cultural traditions. By meticulously caring for the statue and observing rituals, they protect its legacy for future generations.

Are There Any Special Rituals or Ceremonies Performed by the Devotees During the Vigil and Pahalik on January 8 That Are Not Widely Known to the Public?

During the vigil on January 8, devotees engage in distinct rituals like silent prayers for personal intentions, making symbolic offerings of flowers and candles, and performing acts of penance such as prolonged periods of kneeling.

What is the significance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene?

The Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the most significant religious events in the Philippines, symbolizing the Filipinos’ deep faith, endurance, and unyielding spirit in their devotion to the Black Nazarene, a revered dark-skinned statue of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated every January 9th in Quiapo, Manila, drawing millions of devotees who participate in various rituals, including a grand procession known as the Traslacion.

Why do devotees participate barefoot in the procession?

Devotees participate barefoot in the Traslacion as a sign of humility and penance. Walking barefoot through the crowded streets during the procession is a testament to their devotion and a symbolic act of sacrifice, reflecting their unwavering faith in the miraculous powers of the Black Nazarene.

What are the historical origins of the Black Nazarene?

The Black Nazarene is believed to have been brought to Manila from Mexico in 1606 by an unknown Mexican artist who painted the image a dark brown color, similar to his skin. The statue is made from mesquite wood, which is naturally dark. Over the years, it has survived numerous disasters, including fires, earthquakes, and bombings, which many believers attribute to its miraculous nature.

How has the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene evolved over the years?

Originally, the Traslacion commemorated the transfer of the Black Nazarene statue from Intramuros to Quiapo Church in the 1700s. In recent years, the event has included a series of rituals, such as the blessing of replicas, the pahalik (kissing of the image), and the pasindi (lighting of votive candles), adapting to circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic by replacing traditional practices with safer alternatives like “patanaw” or viewing. The procession itself has seen changes, including the use of a new andas (carriage) equipped with modern features for the statue’s transport.


In essence, the Feast of Black Nazarene is a deeply ingrained and significant religious event in Philippine history, epitomizing devotion, sacrifice, and community spirit. Originating in the 17th century, this annual celebration continues to attract millions of devotees who partake in the grand procession and religious rituals with reverence and anticipation.

The Feast of Black Nazarene stands as a potent emblem of faith and tradition, bringing believers together in a shared cultural observance.

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