Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival: What’s the difference?
CEBU CITY, Philippines—In less than two weeks, local and foreign spectators will gather anew in the Queen City of the South which celebrates the comeback of the most anticipated in-person Sinulog Festival and Fiesta Señor.
However, as these related occasions draw near, some are confused about the distinction between these two important celebrations.
CDN Digital interviewed Rev. Fr. John Ion Miranda, OSA, Fiesta Señor 2023 Head Secretariat and Chair of the Health, Safety, and Security Committee, for a quick recap about the essence of the Fiesta Señor, now on its 458th year, and of the Sinulog Festival.
Miranda started by explaining the Fiesta Señor celebration which is spearheaded by the Order of the Augustinian Friars at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.
The essence of the celebration of the Fiesta Señor, he said, goes way back from the beginning of the country’s Christian Faith during the arrival of the image of Sto. Niño in 1521.
The formal evangelization of the country, however, began in 1565 with the Augustinian friars as the first missionaries of the Christian Faith in the Philippines; thus the 458th Fiesta Señor celebration this year.
The annual Fiesta Señor covers all the religious activities of the Basilica in honor of the Holy Child Señor Sto. Niño.
These activities include the nine-day novena masses, the foot, and fluvial processions, and even the traditional “Hubo” mass held on the Friday after the Feast Day of the Señor Sto. Niño.
Sinulog, on the other hand, is the cultural aspect of the Fiesta Señor.
“Although before, Sinulog is part of the ritual of devotion to Sto. Niño. Since na-capture siya sa city government for tourism, ilang gipalambo ni siya, ang ritual aspect of the devotion to Sto. Niño,” he said.
“Without the Sto. Niño, of course, the Sinulog Festival is impossible. That’s why we are thankful to the City of Cebu that they really emphasized the religious aspect of the celebration. It’s not only a fanfare or a Mardi Gras celebration of the Sinulog Festival, but they made it to the point that this is mainly a religious celebration in honor of the Holy Child,” he added.
The Sinulog Festival, which covers various competitions ranging from the grand parade, a ritual showdown on a new and bigger venue this year, is handled by the Sinulog Foundation Inc., spearheaded by the city government through Mayor Michael Rama.
The SFI expects to gather at least 2 million spectators in the in-person festival this year, while the Basilica expects to accommodate about 300,000 devotees daily, considering the different mass schedules for the novena.
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