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    Posted January 9, 2013 by

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    The Annual Feast of the Black Nazarene


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Photographer Firefly360 was perfectly placed to capture these extraordinary images of worshippers in Manila, the Philippines, honoring the Black Nazerene -- a fire-blackened wooden statue of Jesus believed to have miraculous powers. He says officials reported at least 500,000 people attended the parade, in which people carry white towels in the hope of wiping the statue and transfering some of its powers to them. "The atmosphere was festive and you can feel the intense emotions of the crowd as they struggle to reach the carriage carrying the statue," he said. Many are left exhausted and dehydrated by the sheer size of the crowd as it passes through the city.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Celebrated every 9th of January, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is a wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image was transported by a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 31, 1606. The image is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

    Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or charred complexion.

    During the annual public procession, only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in procession to the public, while the original head portion of the statue is retained in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene within the high altars of the church. The Black Nazarene is also famously noted for its devotees who walk the procession streets barefoot, without shoes or sandals as to imitate Jesus Christ on his way to Mount Calvary.

    Even from our height, you can feel the lack of breathable air below, the parched sweats, the fury of cries, and almost the smell of fallen dead skins as bare feet scraped against hot pavement.

    The sight of the sea of devotees as they scampered, jousted, and struggled for a chance to pull the caroza or to touch the Black Nazarene can only be describe as one of “religious frenzy.”

    To view the 360 interactive panoramas, please click this link: http://www.virtualphilippines.net/Panoramas/Nazarene2013/Nazarene2013.html
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