Sinulog Festival 2023, staged in Vienna

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More Sinulog 2023 in Austria pictures here: Facebook

Filipinos and Austrian devotees came in droves on Sunday, January 15, 2023, to the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy church in Vienna’s 10th District to pay homage to the Sto. Niño and to celebrate the Sinulog Festival. The annual Feast of the Sto. Nino and Sinulog Festival is organized by the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy and the Kapunongan ng mga Bisaya sa Austria (KBA).

The festival highlighted dances of the Filipinos’ pagan past and their embrace of Christianity.

The Charge d’Affiares Irene Susan Natividad, Consul General Frank Ivan Olea and other embassy officials attended the event.

„Allow me to congratulate the devotees of Senyor Sto. Nino, as well as the officers and members of KBA, for organizing this year‘s Sinulog sa Vienna,“ Natividad said.

The Charge d‘ Affaires affirmed that such an event signifies the strength of Filipino Christian beliefs and the richness of their spiritual and cultural heritage. Thus, serving as the anchor that sustains and inspires Filipinos in Austria.  

Fr. Ely Dalanon likewise blessed all the Santo Nino images and icons. After celebrating the Holy Eucharist, the devotees performed the ritual dance to the beat of the drums, holding their icon of the Sto. In a synchronized two-steps-forward-one-step-backward rhythm Sinulog movement, Nino repeatedly chants, “PIT SENYOR!” Young KBA members performed the sound of the drums under the baton of Glenn Figuracion.

After the simple lunch provided by the KBA group, group dance presentations featured participants in their vibrant coloured costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. The dances portrayed the historical celebration of Sinulog and the different cultural devotions to the Santo Niño from various parts of the Philippines.

„Maraming naitulong sa akin ang Sto. Nino sa buong buhay ko. Kaya sa kanya ako dumadaing, nagdadasal humihingi ng tulong,“ a devotees of Sto. Nino commented.

„Malapit sa akin ang Sto. Nino dahil sa kanyang katangian bilang isang bata. Magiging bata sa pananampalataya, sa pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay. Just be humble, like the child Jesus!“ Rose Stumpe. another Sto. Nino devotees said.

“Sto. Nino is important because I am a Visayan, and we have a real devotion to Sto. Nino. And I believe that the child Jesus is always protecting us,” another devotee commented, Melchora May, a Sto. Nino devotee said.

„Mahalaga sa akin ang Sto. Nino dahil siya ang nagbibigay sa akin ng biyaya at nagmamahal hindi lamang sa akin kundi sa buong Pilipinas,“ Maureen Ramos, also a Sto. Nino devotee contended.

„Sto. Nino gives us hope. I am so happy to be here today and part of this religious celebration,“ Diana, an Austrian devotee, said.

The  Filipino Chaplaincy thanked and congratulated the organizers and all those who contributed to the celebration’s success.

A nine-day novena mass was held before the fiesta at the Filipino Catholic Church in Vienna.

Sinulog has been celebrated annually in Austria for the past years, organized by the Kapunungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria and the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy.

Sinulog Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Philippines, which is held every 3rd Sunday of January in Cebu City to give honour to Senor Sto. Nino. This great Filipino celebration event would be comparable to the annual Mardi Gras parade held in the American city of New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival in Brazil, minus the sexual overtones and booze party.

The Cebu Sinulog festival is a much more conservative and religious event drawing thousands of spectators and tourists worldwide. It is an annual homecoming reunion event for many Filipinos.

The Sinulog feast is being held to honour the Sto. Nino, or the child Jesus. It is fundamentally a dance ritual commemorating the Filipino people’s pagan past and their embrace of Christianity.

Hector Pascua

Pictures: Lolit Vendivil Kaszuba

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