Dinagyang Festival is one of the biggest and world-class festivals in the Philippines. It traces the history of devotion to the Holy Child Jesus popularly known to Filipino devotees as Sr. Sto. Nino. The festival also commemorates the arrival of the Malay settlers and the legendary barter of Panay Island from the natives called called Ati.
Dinagyang season in Iloilo City is on the first month of the year and highlighted with an Ati Tribe Competition every third Sunday of January. There is an official launching by mid-October of the previous year signaling the start of preparations especially for tribes to practice for their performances in January of the next year.
The participants show impressive choreography with colorful tribal costumes and striking props to present socio-cultural and religious tableaus depicting life in Panay before the Spanish colonization and the advent of Catholicism in the country.
Dinagyang is the leading tourism, cultural, religious and socio-economic promotional vehicle and symbol of Iloilo City’s continuing progress and sustainable development.
HISTORY OF DINAGYANG
Dinagyang comes from “dagyang”, an Ilonggo term for revelry or merrymaking. It was coined in 1977 by Ilonggo writer/broadcaster Pacifico Sudario to describe the riotous celebration. Prior to this, Dinagyang was labeled “Iloilo Ati-Atihan” to differentiate it from many Ati tribal festivals that was starting to be prevalent in the country at that time.
Iloilo Ati-Atihan dates back to the year 1967 when a replica of the image of Señor Santo Niño was first brought from Cebu City by the San Jose Parish in Iloilo City. The image, accompanied by devotees from Cebu, was enthusiastically received at the Mandurriao Airport by the people of Iloilo.
In 1969, the Ati-Atihan contest became a part of the cultural aspect of the celebration with only four tribes participating. Since then, the celebration has progressed into a more colorful and pompous affair that includes the participation of more tribes and groups.
In 1974, the Dinagyang Festival played a vital role in the “Operation Balikbayan” program of the then Ministry of Tourism when some of the tribes provided tourists with a unique form of cultural entertainment. In 1976, street revelry and audience participation were encouraged.
From mere spectators of the performances of various competing tribes, the 1976 festivities offered people their first chance to wildly gyrate in the streets, to shed off inhibitions and to forget the cares, pressures and vexations of everyday life.
In 1977, an authentic Ati tribe from the mountains of Barotac Viejo was invited by the Dinagyang organizers and by the Regional Association of National Government Executives to perform and display their native dances.
From 1978 to the present, the Dinagyang Festival has evolved into a big religious and cultural activity supported by both the government and the private sectors. It now features cultural presentations, sports competitions and various side events.
The Festival was likewise adjudged the country’s tourism event of the year by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines for three consecutive years from 2006 to 2008.
Copyright 2014-2017. Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.