June 25, 2019
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At least 80 injured as thousands attend Black Nazarene procession in Manila

Manila, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- At least 80 people were treated for light injuries and dizziness on Wednesday as thousands of Catholic devotees joined the Black Nazarene annual procession in the Philippine capital to touch a centuries-old black wooden statue of Jesus Christ.

According to the police, more than 100,000 people swarmed around the statue to seek divine blessings as it passed through the Jones Bridge in Manila around noon, some seven hours after leaving Luneta, also called Jose Rizal Park.

The organizers estimated that over five million people will take part in different stages of the procession which in previous years has lasted more than 20 hours.

The procession will travel over six kilometers (four miles) from Luneta to Quiapo church, where the dark Christ is revered as the "patron of the humble" and worshipped throughout the year.

Many of the devotees walk barefoot and try to touch the sculpture by hand, towels or even using t-shirts they are wearing to receive its blessings.

Others satisfy themselves by touching the ropes that drag the "andas" -- ancient Spanish word for palanquins to carry statues.

Carved in Mexico, the statue of the Black Nazarene arrived in Manila on May 31, 1606 in a galleon from Acapulco that, according to a legend, caught fire near the archipelago.

According to another popular Philippine belief, the heat of the flames gave the Christ its distinctive dark color, although another version attributed this color to the maker, a Mexican craftsman, who used a dark wood to give it its particular hue.

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