The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo. It is held every year on the fourth Sunday of January. This is right after the Sinulog Festival in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan.

The Dinagyang festival is to honor the Santo NiƱo (Christ Child) and to celebrate the arrival on Panay island of Malay settlers and their subsequent purchase of the land from the local Ati people. The festival itself started in the late 1960’s as a small religious procession to honor the Santo Nino, but during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, he encouraged various regions to develop their own festivals. Iloilo decided on the Dinagyang and borrowed traditions from the Ati-Atihan Festival of the nearby province of Aklan.

The festival includes Ati-Atihan dancing in the streets. The “tribes” that perform in the street are organized siimilar to the way the krewes are for the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.


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