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Dinagyang Festival 2014 - Iloilo, Philippines

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EuniceLopez's picture

The Dinagyang Festival 2014, is scheduled for the 17 th to the 26th of January 2014, to be held in Iloilo. It means, in Illongo, merriment and revelry. It's the Ilonggo version of the Ati/Arian.

As it is today, it is a very much a Catholic religious festival, in veneration of the Santo Niño, or the image of the Child Jesus, a replica of which was brought over from Cebu in the 1967, accompanied by Cebuano devotees. The Santo Niño image was popularly and enthusiastically received by the Ilonggos.

Soon after, the Iloilo Ati-Atihan Festival was celebrated annually. This morphed into the Dinagyang Festival as its known today.

It is a street masquerade/ dance competition of the local folks - of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American descent, with darkened pfaces, to simulate the original Ati s people, who were the original inhabitants of Panay Province, and several other Philippine Provinces,
long before the Malays, the Chinese, the Spaniards appeared in these shores.

It evolved by 1976 to allow visitors- local and foreign tourists/ to join in in the street masquerade, street dancing, let go of your cares, shed your inhibitions, wild celebration of the Santo Niño, the image of the child Jesus.

In fact, the ancestors of today's Ati s people, crossed over using a land bridge from Borneo early as 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. In the 10th century, the Ati s then sold, or bartered, or simply gave up their lowlands in Panay Province to the Malays headed by ten Datu s who crossed over from Borneo.

It is, therefore, ironic that the Ati s descendants, some shown in these pictures, are not given any substantial participation in the DINAGYANG festival as it is celebrated today.

In the past - one year 1977- a genuine Ati tribe from the mountains of Barotac Viejo was invited to participate in the festivities by contributing their own dances. Shouldn't this be done every year?

What was originally a pagan/ local religion
Colored dance of the Ati s, in
Gratitude for having received food from the lowland Malays, had evolved into a very Catholic colored celebration , with Filipino Ilongos and guests painting their skin dark to simulate the Ati s.

Why not give the Ati s the proper importance in the celebration, for they did play a significant role in Panay island history!
They should always be invited to
Perform and to be a true co-celebrant in the Festiveties.

I think the organizers of Dinagyang owe it to the Filipino people to come up with a Dinagyang that gives proper importance to the Descendants Ati race/people.

Lets have a more accurate depiction of our heritage, our culture, our true history!



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