Santo Niño de Cebu brings Filipino community together
Drums and whistles echoed through the pillars of St. Cecilia's Cathedral on Sunday as the Catholic Filipino community of Omaha celebrated the infant Jesus of Cebu.
Woman danced in colorful, traditional clothing, while raising a statue of infant Jesus along with the music.
The celebration is called Santo Niño de Cebu. It commemorates the statue of infant Jesus which was brought to the island Cebu. It is the oldest Christian image in the Philippines.
"It's a very big honor and tradition that we get together once a year to celebrate," Ranilo Perez, an organizer for the Omaha community of Catholic Filipinos, said.
The mass and banquet are held on the third Sunday of every January.
The crowd isn't just from Omaha; many people from around the country came in to attend.
"It makes us closer together as Filipino community and makes us known in the community of Omaha that we exist," Perez said.
Santo Niño de Cebu is a festival is faith and culture.
Many of the people here lived in the Philippines, and call the Omaha chapter of Filipino Catholics their home away from home.
"When I moved here five years ago, and I didn't know anyone," said Laila Vescio, a member of the catholic Filipino community of Omaha, said, "it's like little Philippines for me."
The Omaha community of Filipino Catholics holds the distinction of being one of the most active celebrants of this festival outside of the Philippines.
"It like a cultural celebration and also carries the faith of the Filipino people," said Violeta Asuncion, the president of the Omaha community of Filipino Catholics.
It’s bringing the Philippines home to many Omahans.
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