Friday, August 3, 2012
Celebrating a colorful Sto. Niño Festival
As the men who volunteered to carry the Sto. Niño statue for the procession fell into place, the street dancers—composed of kids and adults started their dancing and chanting in front of the San Jose Church on Tinian.
By nightfall, the procession returned to where it originated—in front of the San Jose Church. Huge tents were erected at the back of the church where a lavish feast was laid out on long tables.
It was a time when cultural barriers were crossed and guests from various ethnicities sat side by side eating the same food and sharing experiences with one another.
Some of the street revelers joined the dancing with fervent hopes to make their wishes come true. The Sto. Niño Festival is a time when residents take out the Sto. Niño statues they have at home to have it blessed at the church and join the procession.
The dancing did not end at the streets. It continued on through the potluck and even after the dinner plates were cleared away.
The Filipino community on Tinian initiated the celebration of the Santo Niño Festival, a celebrated Roman Catholic statue of the Child Jesus years every third or last Sunday of January, but during the past years, the Filipino community have successfully drawn the interest and participation of other ethnicities.
From the local Filipino favorites, the potluck dishes expanded to include Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Chamorro and Western favorites.