In the Cebuano dialect, the word sulog, where Sinulog comes from, describes the motion of water. This flowing movement is mirrored in the Sinulog dance which characterizes the festival.
The central theme of the Sinulog festival is the child Jesus, more popularly known as the Santo Niño.
The festival is held annually to pay tribute to the Santo Niño, which most people consider as the patron saint of Cebu. Tourists, both local and foreign, flock to the city of Cebu every third Sunday of January to witness this one of a kind event. Streets are packed with viewers and performers alike, dancing to the blare of trumpets, the beating of drums and the sweet, melancholic sound of native metallic gongs. This celebration of dance is to signify the acceptance of the people of the Christian faith and the shedding of their pagan beliefs. While the main celebration is held in Cebu city, there are also smaller, similar festivities in the surrounding provinces. While smaller in scale, the mini festivities are just as impressive.

The celebration of dance that ensues during the festival has evolved into a large-scale contest which is one of the main attractions for the tourists. The much awaited contest is held at the Cebu City Sports Complex to accommodate the large number of dance troops as well as the thousands of spectators, most of which came from a long way just to bear witness to the enchanting Sinulog dance.

Apart from the dancing, another highlight of the event is the food to be had. Streets are peppered with food stalls and hawkers that entice you to sample their unique and indigenous wares. Not to be discounted are the numerous “Cebu lechon” stalls that the city is also famous for. Various trade fairs are also held during the festival to promote other quality export products from the city such as its world famous dried mangoes. The trade fairs also display indigenous goods that are not food such as hand-woven baskets and bags.
Although originally intended to be a festivity to enhance one’s religiousness, the Sinulog festival has transformed to one of the most awaited happenings in the country for several other reasons. Families are excited to witness the parades and spend quality time with each other while younger people save up to be able to come to Cebu because it is said that no night life in any other district could match the fervor and bliss that could be had in the city during Sinulog.


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