Saturday, June 18, 2011

Experience the Dinagyang Festival

Dinagyang Festival is one of the Famous and World renowned Festival in the Philippines. Iloilo people are proud to celebrate the festivities every fourth Sunday of January. The Dinagyang Festival is a very colorful festival that the people are shouting the thundering words of "Hala Bira" and makes the celebration so lively. The highlights of the fiesta is the parade of dancers dancing in the streets to dramatized in honor of the Senyor Santo Niño shouting "Viva Señor Santo Niño".

Dinagyang had its humble beginnings in the devotion to the Señor Santo Niño that began to take root in the hearts of Ilonggos some 40 years ago. Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Galindez started to introduce the devotion to Santo Niño in November 1967, with the usual novenas and masses in honor of the latter.

The first parish feast of the Señor Santo Niño was celebrated in 1969, a year after the arrival. The main feature of the feast was the first fluvial procession where the image was borne on a decorated banca, starting from the mouth of Iloilo river at Fort San Pedro, down to Iloilo Provincial Capitol and back to San Jose church.

The observance of the feast since the arrival of the image was characterized with merry-making confined only within the parochial level. The Confradia patterened the features of the Ati-atihan similar to Ibajay, Aklan, where natives dance on the streets, their bodies covered with soot and ashes. It was not an imitation in its entirety of rituals, but an imitation done in the spirit of devotion to the Child Jesus. Dinagyang is the most unusual of Ilonggo worship.

Dinagyang traces its roots to the staging of an ati-atihan, a dance festival where performers paint their bodies black to look like the dark Aetas, about three decades back. Through the years, however, the Dinagyang festival has not only meant fun and laughter for the Ilonggos. It has also become a period of thanksgiving and offering for all the blessings received.


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