Philippines Cancels “Black Nazarene” Procession as COVID-19 Remains a Major Threat

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The Manila government announced on Friday that the grand procession named Traslacion, for the coming year remains cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the annual parade, the centuries-old life-size black wooden statue of Jesus is marched through the streets of Manila by millions of Roman Catholic devotees.

The Manila Government in a statement released said that “The grand procession of the life-sized image of Black Nazarene on 9th January 2020 is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The statement further added that the Manila government and the Quiapo church have agreed to the procession being cancelled for the very first time to ensure that public health measures will be implemented on the day of the annual “Traslacion”. 

The country of the Philippines is known for its colourful and vibrant religious rituals and culture.  Millions of devotees barefoot, clad in maroon and yellow t-shirts huddled next to a carriage holding the life-sized image of “Black Nazarene” carrying a heavy cross is an accurate picture of the procession. The statue is said to be carved in Mexico and is famous for having miraculous healing powers even with the slightest touch.

Manila is the capital of the Philippine. The Philippines has recorded the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in South-East Asia, after Indonesia. Manila is the coronavirus hotspot of the Philippines and currently is under partial quarantine restrictions till the end of October.  Mass gatherings are prohibited and social distancing protocols are followed on public transports. According to recent data, the virus has claimed 6783 lives and infected 363,888 in the Philippines. 

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