lördag 26 januari 2008

Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay

The Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay takes place during the third week of January every year. It is popularly known as the Kalibo Ati Atihan Festival. There are roughly three Ati Atihan festivals in Boracay—the Ati Atihan Festival along Boracay’s White Beach, the world famous Ati Atihan Festival in Kalibo and the Tribal Ati Atihan Festival in Ibajay. The days of the Ati Atihan Festival are filled with immense merrymaking and a lot of street dancing. To be there at Boracay during this time is really a lifetime experience. This traditional fiesta is carried out in the celebration of the Feast of Santo Nino or the Holy Infant Jesus.

Behind the celebrations and revelry of the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay, lies a silent history. It dates back to 1521 when an image of Infant Jesus was first presented to Juana, Queen of Cebu. Down the years, the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay has become a queer mixture of Catholic ritual, social activity, indigenous drama and a tourist attraction.

The beginning of the great festival, the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is marked by drumbeats which are extremely rhythmic and highly intoxicating. Everywhere on the streets you will find people dancing merrily. The following day is marked by a long procession beginning at dawn and ending with a community mass. The last day of the festival is marked by a competition among groups representing different tribes. They dress up in colorful costumes of warriors. The costumes and the headdress are made up of various things like abaca fibers, shells, feathers, bamboo, plant leaves, cogon, sugar cane flowers, beads, trinkets and an assortment of pieces of glass, metals and plastics. At the end of the festival, the church members make a procession and carry bamboo torches and images of Santo Nino.

Apart from honoring the Santo Nino, the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is also a celebration of harvest thanksgiving and a friendship pact between the native areas and the Malays of the 13th century. It is also considered to be the Mardi Gras of the Philippines and a popular nickname of this festival is “The Filipino Mardi Gras”.

The festival is named after the Ati, the original natives of island. The meaning of the word Ati Atihan is “make-believe Atis”…and the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is the wildest and the most popular among all the festivals in Philippines.

The Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is the most colorful, the most exhilarating and the most exciting festival throughout the country. The heart-warming and ecstatic drumbeats speak of endless joy among the people living at Boracay. Through this festival, the people here show their thankfulness for everything they have got throughout the year…the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is a time for conveying heartfelt thanks for an abundant harvest, a peaceful time, protection from famines and storms, all the answered prayers and the silent whispers to God…the Ati Atihan Festival, Boracay is a time to celebrate the joy and the happiness and the content among the people of the country.