CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 25 May 2019

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Imee Marcos rebuked for trying to politicise Sinulog festival

MANILA (UCAN): Tomas Osmeña, mayor of Cebu, in the central the Philippines, rapped Imee Marcos, daughter of former president and late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, for attempting to politicise the city’s celebration of the feast of the Child Jesus, or Sinulog festival.
 
On January 18, authorities took down a huge poster of Marcos, who is a candidate for senator in this year’s mid-term elections. 
 
Osmeña said the people of Cebu “do not appreciate the politicisation” of the feast, telling Marcos, “This won’t be earning you any votes and is doing you more harm than good.” 
 
Other posters with Marcos’ name and face and the expression: Viva, Pit Senyor! (Plea to the king) have been removed from several areas of Cebu. 
 
“Trust me when I tell you I am doing you a favour by taking this tarpaulin down,” the mayor told Marcos in a social media post. 
 
Osmeña said all “political tarpaulins” found hanging around the city during the festivities would be taken down.
 
“General rule: If you don’t come every year, don’t come during an election year,” the mayor admonished, adding that the removal of the posters was “nothing personal.”
 
Celebrated every third Sunday of January, the Sinulog festival, one of the country’s most popular religious celebrations, honours the Child Jesus.
 
On January 18, a procession called the Walk with Mary attracted thousands of devotees, many of whom walked barefoot.
 
The event, began at about 3.30am in the morning, and was part of activities leading to the procession of the image of the Santo Niño the next day, which incorporates the Sinulog, a dance honouring the Child Jesus.
 
The celebration, which lasts nine days, culminated with the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 20.
 
The day before the parade, a fluvial procession was held at dawn with the statue of the Santo Niño carried on a boat decked with flowers and candles. 
 
The procession ended at Cebu Cathedral with a re-enactment of the baptism of the island’s inhabitants at the time by Spanish missionaries.
 
In the afternoon, a more solemn procession took place along the major streets of the city, lasting for hours due to large crowds.
 
The word Sinulog comes from the Cebuano word sulog, which roughly means current and describes the two steps forward and one step backwards movement of the dance, done to the beat of drums. 
 
The image of the Santo Niño in Cebu is said to be a gift from the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, to the queen of the island following her baptism as a Catholic, bringing Christianity to Philippine shores in 1521.

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