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Ginhawa as Ethic of Panatà: Body Politics and the Devotion to the Black Nazarene

Mark Joseph T. Calano

Abstract

Operating within the ambiguity of the sacred and the secular, the devotion to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo is expressed in the different body performances and prayers directed towards the poón (image). These devotions, narratives, and norms make possible not only the performance, but also the celebration and repetition of faith experiences mediated by the body. The paper investigates the linguistic and body performances that makes possible one of the most attended religious performances in the Philippines in three parts. The first part looks into the body dynamics involved when participating in the devotion to the Black Nazarene. On the one hand, it discusses paghalik (to kiss) and paghawak (to touch) as the desire to concretely and sincerely engage the divine; on the other hand, it looks into pagyayapak (to go barefoot) and paglalakad ng paluhod (to walk on bended knees) as mimesis understood as imitation (imitation). Within the bigger picture of the devotion discussed in the first part, the second part enlarges the body positioning involved in the traslacion in terms of pagpasan (to carry) and pagsalang (to immerse). These performances intimates Aristotle’s hexis and Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘feel for the game’ that makes possible interpreting rhythmic movement and action as an ethos (ethics). The third part resituates these body/linguistic performances directed towards the Black Nazarene in relation to the ‘constant negotiation’ involved for the devotees’ daily life understood as the Filipino passion for ginhawa. In doing so, it locates the performance of the devotion in the context of everyday work life (as hanap-buhay), but also in the celebration of sacrifice (as pagtawad) and forgiveness (as patawad).

Keywords

Body/Linguistic Performances; traslacion; Black Nazarene; ginhawa; sacrifice

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