The annual celebration of Sinulog Festival in Cebu will push through this 2021 despite the on-going coronavirus pandemic, but most likely without the physical crowd and with the consideration to go virtual.
Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) said they are now ‘working closely’ with the Cebu City Government for the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival that will run January 8 to January 17 next year. Augustinian friars are among the lead organizers for the annual Fiesta Señor celebration.
“We’re still finalizing everything so we cannot say if some of these are official. But definitely, it (Fiesta Señor) will push through,” said Reyes in Cebuano.
Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella announced last August that the said event is pushing through in 2021 if “things normalize”. He has also given Vice Mayor Michael Rama and the Sinulog Foundation the full authority and management for the preparation of 2021 Sinulog festivities.
He further said that Covid-19 IATF “will have a lot to say whether to hold or cancel it.”
Official Schedule of Events
Here’s the official schedule of events for Sinulog 2021 from the Sinulog Foundation Inc.:
CHANGES IN SINULOG 2021
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño priests, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), and other public officials of the city government had already started the planning for Sinulog 2021. Proposals were already discussed and will be submitted to the SFI and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). Only activities approved by the IATF will push through in the coming Sinulog.
Here’s few of the possible changes in next year’s celebration:
- Instead of the traditional procession held every eve of the Fiesta Señor, there would be a motorcade. The motorcade may travel through the usual routes, but the final route is yet to be established and will not be finalized until January 2021.
- There will be no fluvial procession on Sinulog 2021 to prevent crowding.
- The Basilica Minore is also planning to live-stream the Novena Masses to parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu so that devotees will not have to go to the Basilica. The police and the CDRRMO also plan to close the roads surrounding the Basilica as early as December 16, 2020, or the start of the Misa de Gallo.
- Proposal for a virtual grand parade for the Sinulog Festival instead of the usual mardi gras is also being considered. Participants could perform through live streaming taking out the necessity for participants to travel to the city.
LOWER BUDGET FOR SINULOG 2021
Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc., said that the Sinulog Festival 2021 should expect a lower budget compared to previous years.
Rama explained that there will be fewer activities due to the coronavirus pandemic and emphasized that the economy is not good, so the city government is prudent in spending.
Last year, the city government had appropriated P35 million for the Sinulog Festival 2020.
The planned Sinulog 2021-related activities include the Sinulog sa SRP (South Road Properties), Sinulog sa Kabataan and Sinulog sa Dakbayan while the Sinulog sa Barangay is still being reviewed.
Other Sinulog activities pushing through include the Sinulog Idol, Balik Cebu, Sinulog Photography Contest, Festival Queen pageant, among others.
500TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE COUNTRY
Year 2021 marks the 500th year anniversary celebration for Christianity in the country. Aside from that, Cebu will also mark the 500th year of the arrival of the image of Sto. Niño de Cebu.
The arrival of the Blessed Image of Sto. Niño, the First Baptism and the First Mass in the country are associated and important events in the history of the spread of Christianity in the country.
The original feast date for the image of the Child Jesus was April 28 but with the approval of Pope Innocent the XIII in the 18th century, the feast was moved to the third Sunday of January to avoid conflict with the “Eastertide” or 50-day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.
The image was a gift by Antonio Pigafetta, the Venetian scholar who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan to the then Kingdom of Cebu, to Queen Juana when she was baptized as a Catholic in 1521.