SOURCE: Panay News
ILOILO City – On Jan. 18 5,000 candles will be lighted on the street in front of the San Jose de Placer Church in Plaza Libertad.
The burning candles will be arranged in such a way that it outlines the image of a giant Señor Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus), said Father Edcel Alcayaga, priest of the Parish of San Jose de Placer.
The candle-lighting event is part of the religious activities in line with the annual Dinagyang Festival.
The festival started in 1967. A replica of the Santo Niño de Cebu was brought from Cebu to the San Jose de Placer Church. The image was enthusiastically received by the Ilonggos who danced on the streets of Iloilo City.
Alcayaga said the lighting of candles will commence at 7 p.m. after a 5:30 p.m. Novena Mass.
“As far as I know diri pa lang himuon sa Iloilo City ini – a giant image of Señor Santo Niño will be formed using lighted candles,” he said.
The activity is symbolic, according to Alcayaga. The Child Jesus, the son of God, is the source of enlightenment and peace, he explained.
The Parish of San Jose de Placer wants to make sure Dinagyang Festival’s religious aspect won’t be overshadowed by the festivity’s pageantry, said Alcayaga.
The parish is one of the three organizers of the 2020 Dinagyang. The two others are the city government and the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc.
“We focus more on how to deepen the devotion to Señor Santo Niño,” said Alcayaga.
Dinagyang is the Hiligaynon word for revelry or merrymaking and the festival is known for the participants’ impressive choreography and striking costumes that reflect the ingenuity, craftsmanship and artistry of the Ilonggos. But this year’s festival theme is emphasizing its spiritual aspect: “Perfect Vision: Celebrating the Ilonggo Spirit in Honor of Señor Santo Niño.”
The 2020 Dinagyang Festival will be seeing more initiatives to strengthen Ilonggos’ devotion to the Santo Niño, according to Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. president Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida. These are:
* visit of Santo Niño de Cebu to various parishes and places in Iloilo from Jan. 16 to Jan. 23
* Novena Mass from Jan. 15 to 23
* installation of Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayor 2020 on Jan.15
* re-enactment of the wedding of Princess Isabel on Jan. 16
* “Talk to the Youth” on Jan. 17
* “fun day” for children of barangays within the parish; Santo Niño Mass for barangay children, and caravan to the 10 barangays of the parish on Jan. 18
* medical and dental mission and re-enactment of the coronation of Niño Ambassador 2020 on Jan. 19
* Healing Mass for the aged, sick and the abandoned on Jan. 21
* re-enactment of the Santo Niño de Cebu’s arrival to the parish and the original merry-making around Plaza Libertad; and floral offering and Mass for Reverend Father Ambrosio Galindez, OSA (founder of Dinagyang Festival) on Jan. 23
* fluvial procession and solemn foot procession, Mass and blessing of Santo Niño images, pregnant mothers and children on Jan. 24
* grand religious sadsad in front of San Jose de Placer Church on Jan. 25
* Concelebrated High Mass on Jan. 26./PN