North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Feast of the Black Nazarene

Well, this one's a new one for me - just what is the "feast of the Black Nazarene."

Apparently an annual celebration and pilgrimage in the Philippines. A procession of millions of Filipinos made the news today because of their religious devotion, their "thanks but no thanks" response to the Philippine president's warning that such concentrations would invite attacks by Islamists, and that nearly a 1000 were hurt during the walk through crowded Manila streets.

The Philippines in South Asia, with neighbors including Vietnam and Malaysia.

As for the "Black Nazarene," it is a wooden statue of Christ, crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, and believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The ship that carried it caught fire, but the charred statue survived and was named the Black Nazarene.

The feast of the Black Nazarene itself is a straightforward annual pilgrimage and celebration, with participation of millions. From one newspaper report regarding this year's festival, "The event got under way with a morning Mass by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle at Rizal Park attended by about 3 million mostly barefoot devotees. The crowd was expected to swell to 9 million later in the day... After the Mass, where prayers were offered for victims of recent deadly floods, organizers brought the life-size Black Nazarene statue down from a stage to a carriage for a procession expected to last well into the night."

There were some injuries during the procession as devotees stumbled and jostled each other as they rushed towards the statue as it wound its way through the streets ... Amazing.

The Philippines is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, and is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila. With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country, and Asia's most Catholicized country, with over 74 million Filipinos formal church members.

Click on map for full image
It must be a challenge to govern such a conglomeration of islands and peoples.

Manilla is the country's largest and capitol city, and also the site of the Black Nazarene feast

As to the Feast...

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Filipino devotee carries his daughter to be able to kiss the foot of a centuries-old wood image of Jesus Christ known as the Black Nazarene

One of many depictions of the Black Nazarene

The procession gets underway ...

In full array - millions line the processional route

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