Manila cancels Traslacion 2021 due to COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — The grand procession of the Black Nazarene — a religious event that gathers millions of Filipino devotees — scheduled in January 2021 is cancelled, Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said on Friday.

He said the decision was agreed upon by city officials and the Quiapo Church due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Iwasan po muna natin ang mga parada at prusisyon ngayong may COVID-19 pandemic. Maaari pong mapahamak ang ating mga deboto, mailagay sila sa alanganin," he tweeted.

[Translation: Let us avoid parades and processions while there is a pandemic. These may put devotees at risk, endagering their lives.]

The procession draws millions of barefoot devotees every January 9, as they flock to the heart of Manila to witness the traditional Traslacion (transfer) of the venerated image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.

Filipino Catholics believe the Black Nazarene image can bring miracles, as it has endured fires that destroyed its home church, two earthquakes, floods, and even bombings during World War II.

This year's Traslacion spanned 16 hours and 35 minutes where the crowd swelled to at least 3.3 million. Nearly 500 people were hurt due to the intense crowding.