From traditional sports like sack races and tug-of-war to more modern activities such as cosplay contests and street art competitions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Ati-Atihan Festival is not just about fun and frolic; it also holds deep cultural significance. It serves as a reminder of the country’s history, celebrating the harmony between different ethnic groups that have coexisted on Panay Island for centuries. The festival showcases the resilience and spirit of the Filipino people, who come together in times of celebration to honor their roots.
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, make sure to include Kalibo in your itinerary during January when Ati-Atihan takes place.
Immerse yourself in this vibrant celebration where tradition meets modernity, where locals welcome visitors with open arms into their homes and hearts.
Joining the fun and frolic of Ati-Atihan Festival will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories – dancing through colorful streets, savoring delicious food, making new friends from all walksAti-Atihan Festival: Honoring Santo Niño in Style
The Philippines is known for its vibrant and colorful festivals, each with its unique traditions and customs. One of the most famous and highly anticipated celebrations is the Ati-Atihan Festival, held annually in Kalibo, Aklan. This festival pays homage to the Santo Niño or the Child Jesus.
The Ati-Atihan Festival traces its roots back to pre-colonial times when Malay settlers arrived on Panay Island. The atis welcomed them by smearing their faces with soot as a sign of friendship.
Today, this historical event is reenacted during the festival through street dances where participants paint their faces black using charcoal or soot.
They also wear traditional Visayan attire made from indigenous materials such as abaca fiber and coconut leaves.
The highlight of the Ati-Atihan Festival is the grand procession featuring devotees dressed as atis carrying images of Santo Niño while dancing along the streets accompanied by lively music played on drums and other percussion instruments. This joyful celebration symbolizes unity among different cultures and races, emphasizing that we are all children under God’s care.
During this week-long festivity, locals open their homes to visitors from all over the country and even abroad. Streets are adorned with colorful banners depicting scenes from Filipino folklore and religious icons like Santo Niño himself. Food stalls line up offering mouthwatering delicacies like binakol (chicken soup cooked inside bamboo), lechon (roasted pig), kakanin (rice cakes), and many more.
Apart from street parades, there are various competitions held throughout the festival showcasing talents in singing, dancing, drumming, costume-making, float design, and beauty ati atihan festival pageants highlighting local beauties.