How does Sinulog festival celebrated in the Philippines?

Sinulog is one of the grandest and most colorful festivals that is held on the third Sunday of January. The celebration is said to be the center of the Santo Niño Catholic or the child Jesus. Santo Niño is used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu (since in the Catholic faith Jesus is not a saint, but God). Smaller versions of the festival are held in various parts of the province, also to celebrate and honor the Santo Niño.

Sinulog in the Philippines

What to expect during Sinulog celebration?

One of the main highlights of the festival is the grand street parade with the participants dancing on the street. It is basically a long procession that consists of several grouped of street dancers who are all dressed in colorful costumes and background with amazingly decorated platforms. These may be common Sinulog props but these are made by the participants that take months of pouring their hearts to create such wonderful and spectacular work of art.

As they go through the whole town, they would perform their own dance steps or the ‘Sinulog dance‘. Each group are dancing gracefully to the rhythm of drums, trumpet and native gongs.  The word Sinulog comes from the Cebuano adverb sulog which means “like water current movement”. This explains the distinct forward and backward movement which is in tune to a very recognizable drumbeat that identifies this festivity. The dance is categorized into Sinulog-base, Free-Interpretation, and street dancing. There would also be a girl that’s usually in front of each group who would wave the figure of the Santo Niño in their hands as they move along the crowd.

Sinulog in the Philippines

Sinulog in the PhilippinesSinulog in the Philippines

What does the phrase mean that is shouted during Sinulog?

And as they dance, they would occasionally shout phrases like “Pit Senyor kang Mama kini, Pit Senyor kang Papa kini!” or simply the more identifiable phrase “Viva Pit Señor!”. The word Senyor or Señor is respect given to male, but in this instance, Senyor refers to the holy Santo Niño. The word “Pit” is commonly a Cebuano word “Sangpit” means “to call upon”. Many believes that “Pit Senyor” means “Sangpit kang Santo Niño” or to “call upon Santo Niño”. By shouting the word “Viva” means to shout with gladness, a thanks giving for the blessing given by Senyor Santo Niño. As we all know that mama means mother and papa is father, the phrase “Pit Senyor kang Mama kini, Pit Senyor kang Papa kini!” means “call upon Santo Niño for mother and father”.