Published January 17, 2008
Also planned for the celebration is a potluck meal. Attendees can participate in a contest to win one of several prizes that include a 32-inch flat-screen television, a GPS navigator and a digital camera, among others. Guests are asked to bring a food dish to share with the community.
The fiesta of Santo Niño, which is also known as the Sinulog, is celebrated anywhere in the world where Filipinos reside. Thousands of people from all over the Philippines participate in a colorful procession in Cebu City, the Philippines, where the original statue is kept inside the Basilica of Santo Niño. This is the biggest event of the year in Cebu City where people of every walk of life participate.
Ferdinand Magellan brought the original statue of the Santo Niño from Spain and gave it to Queen Juana when he discovered the Philippines in 1521. Queen Juana was so happy to receive the gift that she danced along the streets of Cebu. Natives, seeing their queen dancing, followed her and thereafter called the celebration a “sinulog,” which in translation means a “graceful flow or current of water.” Since that time, people have celebrated the fiesta every year.
Locally, the celebration started as a small devotion among family and friends in 1989. The statue of Santo Niño would be brought to stay with a host family for nine days during which they would pray the novena every night. Requests from friends and relatives for the visit of Santo Niño increased rapidly.
On Jan. 17, 1993, the first fiesta in honor of the Santo Niño was celebrated in Atlanta at St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville. Subsequent Masses were celebrated at St. John the Evangelist through 1999 and then at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro, from 2000-2002. Due to the increasing number of people attending the Mass and fiesta every year, it was moved to the larger and more centrally located Corpus Christi Church, where it continues to be celebrated.
This yearly celebration is eagerly anticipated by Filipino-Americans all over Georgia and attracts an increasing number of attendees. The community hopes that this tradition will encourage the younger generation of Filipino-Americans in Georgia to continue this celebration to instill faith, closeness and fellowship in their new home in the United States of America and, at the same time, keep alive time-honored traditions from the Philippines.
Corpus Christi Church is located at 600 Mountain View Drive, Stone Mountain.
For information, contact Florie Villoria at email@example.com. For more information about Corpus Christi Church, or for directions, visit www.corpuschristicc.org or call (770) 469-0395.