The colors and motions, the beats and sounds – Dinagyang Festival is uniquely a festival of faith, culture and tradition. Today, I joined thousands of people in the streets of the City of Love and captured the colors, moments, and spirits of Dinagyang Festival 2017. Yep, the “Hala Bira, Iloilo!” still sounds in my ears!
Celebrated every fourth weekend of January, Dinagyang Festival is held to celebrate the conversion to Christianity by the natives, to pay respect and to honor the child Jesus Christ, Santo Nino. A festival that is quite similar to the Ati-atihan, just not as dated as Ati-atihan. But even so, this festival does have its own unique characteristics that make it distinguishable from other festivals.
The name Dinagyang was created in 1977 but the festival itself has been going on even years before. Dinagyang was coined from the Iloilo word “Dagyang” meaning to make happy. And this festival surely does make those who attend, perform, and watch it happy. Vivid heritage, colorful and lively dancing and impressive handmade crafts, are just some of the reasons why even tourists come to Iloilo to experience this festival.
And this year is no different, yet another chance to experience this wonderful festival. Here are the events in this year’s Dinagyang festival:
Fluvial Procession – This procession was held to honor Santo Nino. Thousands of devotees, even those coming from different parts of the world, come and join in this procession, to show a simple thanksgiving.
Kasadyan Cultural Parade – A parade that was thought of by the locals once Dinagyang was created. It is joined by colleges, universities, private organizations, etc. to showcase the different features and customs of each town. Theatrical performances, fun music, and beautiful art are the highlights of this parade. Even if it takes an ample amount of time to plan, create and finish, this parade still lives on for the locals believe that this is a way to keep their culture and heritage alive.
Dinagyang Ati Competition – The main highlight, the main event of this whole festival, this competition is where different tribes give their best, perform their heart outs and compete for the grand prize. A street dance competition that has everyone at the edge of their seat, because these tribes prepare, practice and perform like there’s no tomorrow. Each tribe try to outshine each other through choreography, costumes, emotions, music, etc. but still sticking to the roots of their tribes. This event is one that you will surely enjoy.
Let me share the moments I’ve captured in the streets of Iloilo City during the Festival’s Ati Contest early today (January 22).
The Philippines has a lot of festivals, and I should say that this one is one of the grandest. I’m very glad that I travelled to Iloilo and experienced Dinagyang Festival first hand…