Every year, the Feast of the Black Nazarene culminates on Jan. 9 with the traslacion, a procession along Manila's streets to bring a replica image of Jesus Christ back to the Quiapo Church. Millions of devotees partake in celebrations, but as the threat of COVID-19 remains, traditions had to adapt to keep people safe.
It's only a day away, and if you're still confused about what you can and can't do, here's a quick list of do's and don'ts for the 2021 Feast of the Black Nazarene and traslacion.
MORE ON THE FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE:
There's no procession to go to
In case you missed it, this year's traslacion was cancelled to prevent crowding and the possible spike in cases, so there's no procession to begin with.
Don't overcrowd at Quiapo Church
Parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong sought an increase in maximum capacity to 50% from 30%, but officials are inclined to disapprove that as there are still major risks of spreading the virus in enclosed areas.
To make room for devotees, the local government of Manila opened the streets of Villalobos, Carriedo, Hidalgo, as well as the newly rehabilitated Plaza Miranda to devotees who are barred from entering Quiapo Church.
"Nananawagan ako ulit, hindi naman siguro masama na hangga't maaari ay magdasal tayo sa loob ng bahay, yung relasyon natin sa Diyos i-practice natin between Jesus and you, ikaw mismo," Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said.
Don't bring large figures
Every year, devotees bring and parade their figures of the Black Nazarene during the procession, but the tradition will have to be skipped for now. Carrying large replicas requires several people, and the fewer people out of their homes, the better.
Smaller figures can be brought during worship services or masses.
What you can do during the Feast of the Black Nazarene:
Pray at home
Badong said partaking in traditions and expressing devotion at home in no way lessens your faith as a devotee. Some have vowed to attend the procession every year, but he reiterated that prioritizing safety won't break your faithfulness.
"Sa mga deboto po, ibayong pag-iingat po ang dapat nating pairalin, disiplina, magmalasakit po tayo sa bawat isa. Wag po natin pairalin ang tigas ng ulo dito sa araw na ito," he said.
Radio, television, online
Other celebrations of the feast such as hearing mass and worship services may be done at home via radio or television broadcast, or online, at the Quiapo Church Facebook page.
Visit your local parish if you can
Masses and celebrations will still take place, and you don't have to be in Quiapo Church to attend worship services. Going to your local parish while observing social distancing will suffice.
The annual pahalik sees countless devotees kissing the figure of the Black Nazarene, with some caressing the holy image with a handkerchief or precious cloth. This year's version of the pahalik—which Badong called pagpupugay (paying tribute)—started early, ahead of the traslacion, to shorten queues and allow people more time to visit.
According to Badong, the figure is available for viewing 24/7, and people may pass by when convenient to them to wave their handkerchiefs.