The Ati Atihan Festival- Viva kay Santo Niño

The Ati-Atihan Festival is a feast held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño (Infant Jesus), concluding on the third Sunday, in the island and town of Kalibo, Aklan in the Philippines. The Ati-Atihan is a festival in honour of the Santo Niño, celebrated in the third week of January. During the last three days of this week-long festival (fiesta), a parade is characteristic. A colourful happening with celebrants who paint their faces in many different ways and who are dressed in the most exceptional costumes. The dancing on the rhythms of the drums makes this festival comparable with carnival in Rio in Brazil. The fiesta is celebrated in Kalibo on the island of Panay (Visayas). In the thirteenth century, long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, light-skinned immigrants from the island of Borneo (Kalimantan) in Indonesia arrived  on Panay. The local people of Panay, the  Ati (negritos), a small and dark (black) kinky-haired people, sold them a small piece of land and allowed them to settle down in the lowlands.  The Atis themselves, lived more upland in the mountains.  One time the Ati people was in need of food because of  a bad harvest in their homelands. They came down to the lowlands of the Maraynon and asked them food. Every year since then, the Atis came down to the lowland inhabitants to ask for some food. They danced and sang in gratitude for the helping hand.  A real friendship was born and the Maraynon  started to paint  their faces black  in honor of the Atis and took part in the fiesta.

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