To make sure their handkerchiefs return, Black Nazarene devotees use string
MANILA, Philippines—Devotees waiting from buildings on Thursday tied their handkerchiefs to plastic string to make sure they get their respective handkerchief back after throwing to the Black Nazarene.
Members of Hijos Del Nazareno, the group of men guarding the life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ, dutifully wipe the Black Nazarene with the pieces of cloth thrown at them while people around them struggle to reach the relic.
At Palanca Street, the sculpture riding its carroza or andas took an hour to pass a short strip of road as devotees pull on its ropes from all directions.
From afar, observers could see men, women and even children, flinging themselves towards the Nazareno, without regard of the people below.
Meters away, several unconscious devotees were being carried by medical teams.
At Quezon Bridge, ambulances come and go as more patients were brought into first-aid tents.
But amid the usual chaos brought about by the procession, Fr. Rick Valencia, parochial vicar of the Quiapo Church, said they are thankful that only minor injuries were recorded.
As of 7 p.m., about 1,686 patients were reported by the Department of Health.
Valencia said that although it seems there are more participants this year, the procession’s pace is somewhat quicker. However, he said “it remains to be seen” if the Black Nazarene will return to the church at an earlier time.
Last year, the procession took 22 hours. As of posting time, the Black Nazarene has been going around Manila for 13 hours. It has already passed Castillejos Street.
The Quiapo Church Disaster Risk Reduction Management Ministry said around 80,000 people are in the vicinity of Quiapo Church while 70,000 are following the procession. This estimate does not take into consideration those who have left or who have just arrived to join the Traslacion.
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