Devotees carry the image of the Black Nazarene to a carriage while others wave white hankies during the annual religious procession in Manila on January 9, 2015.
TED ALJIBE—AFP/Getty Images
By TIME Staff
January 9, 2015

Millions of people have joined Friday’s Procession of the Black Nazarene in Manila, bringing parts of the Philippine capital to a virtual standstill.

The procession, held twice a year, sees Catholic devotees parade a 200-year-old statue of Jesus around the city’s Quiapo district. Huge crowds attend in the hope of being able to touch the statue, or its processional carriage, in the hopes of bringing good luck to themselves.

Local media reported that the throng will number an estimated five million people at its height, creating difficult conditions. One man has died of a heart attack and 450 worshippers have required medical attention since Thursday evening.

Because of the crowds, the procession, which this year is 6.7 km long, takes around 20 hours to complete. The procession is expected to reach Quiapo Church (the colloquial name for the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) at around midnight local time.

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