This Festival is an honour of the Santo Niño, it is celebrated in the 3rd week of January. Concluding the 3rd Sunday, on the town of Kalibo, Aklan Philippines.
The meaning of Ati-Atihan “make believe Ati’s” or “tobe like Ati’s“. Itas are the primary settlers in the island according to history books. They are the earliest of Panay Island where the province of Aklan situated.
The Ati-Atihan Festival consist of tribal music, dance, accompanied by indigenous weapons and costumes, and parade in the street. They also paint their faces in different ways and who are dressed in the most unique costumes.
Christians and non Christians watch this day with religous processions. It it inspired many other Philippines Festivals including the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and Dinagyang of Iloilo City,both are adaptation of Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan Festival, and it holds the tittle of The Mother of All Philippines Festivals.
Most of the people attend the masses for the Santo Niño, and getting benefit dances sponsored by the goverment organizations. The formal opening mass giving the festival religous event. The procession begins with rhythmic beats of drum and dances parading in the street.
The 2nd day starts at dawn with a rosary procession, which ends in a community mass, and procession. The word “Hala Bira Pwera Pasma!” is associated with the Santo Niño Ati-Atihan Festival as the devotess keep on going with the festival all over the town from morning to the wee hours of the next morning, rain or shine, for 1 week or even more.
The people believes that the mraculous Child Jesus will protect them from danger and illness. The highlight of Ati-Atihan festival occurs on the last day, the 3rd sunday of January, when the groups are representing different tribes compete for tourist “attention and prizes“. The festival end with procession of many people carrying torches and different kinds of images of Sto. Niño. The winners of the contest will be announced at a masquerade ball which tell the end of the festival.
Viva Santo Niño
It is said that the procession is the climax of the fiesta. It held on the least Sunday. The dancers never failed to enter Kalibo church every time they pass by.
A kind of fiesta for all the Filipinos
Celebrants arrive by boats or airplane from all over the country. Tourists have discovered this fiesta too as a festival which we should not be missed. During this days or the whole week they accomodate hotels or a private homes, or in publics. Even camp on beach is normal during this days.