Viva! Pit Senyor! Is the loud cry heard right after every mass during the nine day novena which culminates on the third Sunday of January — the fiesta of Señor Sto. Niño.
The same cry resonates during the solemn procession on Saturday and particularly during the Grand Sinulog Parade.
For the first time Sinulog reveler, you might even be surprised with Cebuanos greeting you “Pit Senyor!” Of course, respond with an equally energetic “Pit Senyor!”
But what exactly does the phrase mean?
The Basilica Minore de Santo Nino de Cebu website traced the expression back to the time when candle vendors in front of the Augustinian Church of Cebu render the “sinug” or “a prayer-dance offered either in supplication or in thanksgiving to the Señor Santo Niño.”
This is the dance of candle-waving women who follow a simple forward and backward routine while offering prayers for any devotee. This is the basic steps for “Sinug,” the dance.
The “sinug” dance routine is said to be in imitation of the sulog (current) of Pahina river of Cebu City.
While dancing and waving candles, the women chant: “Pit Señor! Pit Señor!” which is short for “Sangpit sa Senyor.”
This is translated as “to call on the Señor” or “Plea to the Señor Santo Niño. It also loosely means “Hail the Lord!”
Devotees have also adopted the chant as an ejaculatory prayer and one would normally hear petitions like: “Pit Senyor kang Tatay kini (Hail the Lord, this one’s for my father!)” (http://basilicasantonino.org.ph/pages/basilica_complex.html#M)
Through the years, Cebuanos have come to greet each other “Pit Senyor!” during the fiesta.
Understanding the meaning behind the phrase deepens one’s appreciation of the cry. It ceases to be just another catch phrase blared out of loudspeakers to rev up a frenzy for the grand parade.
Related story and photos
The photos below show personnel of PRworks Inc. fulfilling a yearly vow to devote a night decorating the chapel of Señor Santo Niño inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City. The public relations firm had been doing this even before its incorporation in 2004. This year, we will be at the Basilica this January 11, 2015.