Santo Niño

Santo Niño de Cebu is a representation of the Child Jesus, somewhat related to the Infant Jesus of Prague. Santo Niño de Cebu literally means "holy child of Cebu". The image was brought to the archipelago that would later become known as the Philippines on Ferdinand Magellan's near-circumnavigation and in 1521 was given to the Queen Juana of Cebu, who was later baptized into the Catholic faith along with her husband, Rajah Humabon, and their people. After the Spaniards turned against the Cebuanos, the Spaniards burned a good part of Cebu, and the image was caught in the blaze.

The Holy See has approved special liturgical texts for use during the local Feast of the Santo Niño in the Philippines, set on the third Sunday of January. The festival that follows is known as the Sinulog, which combines the street gaiety and religious piety of the Cebuano people.

The Santo Niño was long considered to be the patron "saint" of Cebu. However, the Santo Niño is a representation of Jesus Christ as a child. The Catholic Church in the Philippines sets the Holy Child as an example of humility and as a celebration of the Incarnation. Many Cebuanos do not consider the Christmas Season over until the Feast of the Santo Niño.

Since the Holy Child is a representation of Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, he cannot, as God, be considered a patron. In that sense, Cardinal Vidal's move was to actually install a patron saint for Cebu, when before there was none. He did not, however, abolish the feast or the traditional street celebrations.