The Sinulog Festival is an annual festivity held every third Sunday of January in Cebu City and Maasin City, Southern Leyte. The festival commemorates the Visayan people’s pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism.
As we all know in our history, it was on April 7, 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived and planted the cross on the shores of Cebu, claiming the land for Spain. Ferdinand gave an image of the Santo Niño as a baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, wife of Rajah Humabon, who was later renowned as Queen Juana in honor of Juana, mother of Carlos I.
Many of the 800 natives along with the rulers of the island were also baptized. At the time of this receiving the holy image, it was said that Queen Juana danced with joy holding this image of the Jesus Christ. With many other natives following her lead, this moment was regarded as the first ever Sinulog.
This event is frequently used as the inspiration for most Sinulog dances, which dramatize the coming of the Spaniards and the gift of the Santo Niño to the Queen Juana. The well-known theme among Sinulog dances is Queen Juana holding the Santo Niño in her arms and using it to bless the people of her land who are often afflicted by sickness caused by demons and other evil spirits.
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