Ati-Atihan Festival



Philippines Saijiki


Ati-Atihan Festival

***** Location: Philippines, Aklan
***** Season: Mid-Winter
***** Category: Observance


In Aklan, every year on the third sunday of January, we Aklanons celebrate Ati-Atihan in Kalibo --the capital of Aklan.

It is a merry-making, street-dancing activity from sunrise to sundown. This is done in honor of Senor Sto. Nino, young Jesus Christ.

This festival is one of the most famous and most colorful festivals in the Philippines. Thousands of tourists from all over the world come and join in this yearly festival.

The several groups, called tribes, that join in this festival paint their bodies with soot from the back of frying fans. (When one uses firewood in cooking, one will see black soot at the back of frying fan.) They carry a lot of things from empty bottles to empty cans that make a lot of noise as they walk around the streets of Kalibo.

But one of the most important things they carry is the image of the Infant Jesus.

Melchor F. Cichon


A 13th century (c.1212AD) event explains the origins of the festival. A small group of Malay datus, fleeing Borneo, were sold some land by the Ati people, the original inhabitants of Panay Island. The new arrivals celebrated the event at a great feast by painting themselves black to look like them.

The Ati are still distinguishable today by their dark skin and curly hair, and the name "Ati-Atihan" translates as "To be like an Ati". It is considered to be, along with the Sinulog of Cebu, "The Mother of all Philippine Festivals" which was eventually copied by other similar celebrations across the Philippines such as the:

Dinagyang of Iloilo
Halaran of Capiz
Binilirayan of Antique
Maskarahan of Bacolod.

And also Ati-Atihan's of several nearby smaller towns of Aklan, Antique, and Capiz.
Ati-Atihan was originally a pagan festival. Missionaries gradually added Christian meaning. Today, Ati-Atihan is celenbrated in honor of the Christ Child, the Santo NiƱo. Three days of parades lead up to the main procession that starts in the church on Sunday afternoon. The parades are colorful and vibrant, much like the Mardi Gras carnival in Brazil.

More is here:
© Wikipedia


© PHOTO Kenilio

Click HERE to see all these colorful tribes !

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


homing herons--
the streets of Kalibo
still filled with dancing tribes

Melchor F. Cichon


ati drums...
the dust from our soles
our sooted prayers

- Shared by Alee Imperial Albano -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013

Related words

***** Philippines Saijiki


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Iloilo City, Philippines, we often see Ati roaming around begging for a few coins.

Ati is a name given to an indigenous group of natives of Western Visayas, Philippines. Since a great majority of them have not gone to school and do not have a permanent abode, they go to Iloilo City or to Kalibo, Aklan in their tattered clothes to beg.

Sometimes, you see them in the busy streets of Iloilo City carrying their very young children.

It is from them that the famous Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan,Philippines, came from.

Because of their unpleasant look, they are driven away by the guards as they near the gates of the malls.


start of summer--
a guard doesn't want me
to eat in a restaurant

Aklan, Philippines