Each contingent spends months preparing meticulously crafted costumes that depict historical events or mythical creatures significant to Aklanon culture.
During this parade, spectators are treated to a visual feast filled with vibrant colors and elaborate designs. The streets come alive with the sound of music, laughter, and cheers as participants showcase their talents through synchronized dances and acrobatic stunts.
Apart from the performances and parades, Ati-Atihan also offers a variety of other activities for visitors to enjoy. Food stalls line the streets, offering mouthwatering local delicacies like “inasal” (grilled chicken), “batchoy” (noodle soup), and “kakanin” (rice cakes). There are also trade fairs where you can buy traditional crafts, souvenirs, and clothing made by local artisans.
The festival culminates in a religious procession honoring Santo Niño or the Child Jesus. Participants carry images of Santo Niño while singing hymns and prayers as they make their way to Kalibo Cathedral.
This part of the celebration showcases the deep-rooted Catholic faith that is intertwined with Aklanon culture.
In conclusion, Ati-Atihan Festival is an enchanting celebration that brings together history, tradition, artistry, and spirituality. It provides a unique opportunityAti-Atihan Festival: Where Every Face Becomes a Canvas
The Philippines is known for its vibrant and colorful festivals, but one that truly stands out is the Ati-Atihan Festival. Held annually in January in Kalibo, Aklan, this festival celebrates the Santo Niño (Child Jesus) and pays homage to the country’s indigenous people, particularly the Atis.
The origins of the Ati-Atihan Festival can be traced back to pre-colonial times when Malay settlers arrived on Panay Island. Legend has it that these settlers traded with the local Atis using their dark skin as currency.
To honor this exchange and show solidarity with their indigenous brothers and sisters, they would paint their faces black using soot or charcoal.
Today, this tradition lives on during the festival as thousands of locals and tourists alike don traditional Visayan attire adorned with intricate face paint. The streets come alive with music from drums called “tambor” and participants dance energetically to rhythmic beats while chanting “Hala Bira!” which means “Let’s go!”
What sets Ati-Atihan apart from other festivals is its inclusivity. During this time, every face becomes a canvas for creativity and self-expression. People of all ages participate in transforming themselves into living works of art by painting their faces with bold colors like red, ati atihan festival yellow, blue, green – symbolizing joy and celebration.
The festival also showcases various tribes representing different regions across the Philippines who compete against each other in street dancing competitions.