Ati-Atihan is the country’s most spectacular festival for lovers of mardi gras. This event’s history can be traced back to early Borneo settlers.
Mardi gras typically refers to the series of feasts that kick off after the Epiphany, and whose culmination is marked one day prior to the celebration of Ash Wednesday. The festival is marked by feasting and indulging in delicacies and rich foods.
The Filipino version of this event is marked yearly in January as a way to honour Santo Nino. The latter is to the locals, a representation of the baby Jesus. Some of the events that mark Kalibo Ati-Atihan include traditional dances, vibrant music as well as an array of colourful costumes. Occasionally, traditional weapons are included as part of the festivities.
The most intriguing bit of this festival is that it attracts both devout locals and non-religious folks, making it an open invitation for visitors who would like to immerse in Philippine’s culture. The promoters of the festival capture its essence in a surreal manner, stating that the event is an eclectic mix of Catholic practice, cultural performances and a prominent tourist attraction.
The festivals to mark this event last a week, from the crack of dawn to the setting of the sun each day, allowing visitors ample time to indulge in one of Philippines’ most eccentric festivals. The culmination of this event is held on the third Sunday of January, a must-attend for anyone who is enthralled by Philippines’ rich culture.
Kalibo Ati-Atihan is an eye-opening experience, whether you are a first-time visitor to the Philippines, or have been lucky to travel to the country previously. Truly, it is more fun in the Philippines!
Mark your calender: January 8, 2017 at Kalibo, Aklan! See you there!