MANILA: The annual religious procession of the Black Nazarene started at 5:32 a.m. on Monday, with around 435,000 devotees surrounding the image at the Quirino Grandstand.
In previous years, the “Traslacion,” the transfer of the image to the Minor Basilica, began at 7 a.m. This year, the organizers decided to start early.
As of 9:30 a.m., the procession was moving slowly because of the huge number of devotees along its route.
During the “Traslacion,” towels or handkerchiefs are hurled to the marshals escorting the Black Nazarene, and these are wiped on the statue that is believed to have miraculous powers.
Traditionally, only men were permitted to pull the ropes attached to the carriage bearing the image but in recent years female devotees have also been allowed to do so.
The veneration of the Black Nazarene is rooted among Filipinos who identify themselves with the Passion of Jesus Christ.
During the procession, the ebony image is Black accompanied by throngs of barefoot devotees clad in maroon shirts. PNA