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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in the Philippines Series at FilipinoPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Filipino holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11, Ati-Atihan Festival. In Filipino, it’s called Ati-Atihan Festival.
The Ati-Atihan Festival is celebrated every third week of January in Kalibo, located in the province of Aklan, and marks a time of remembrance and worship of the Holy Child. It is said that the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, and many other traditional Filipino festivals originally derived from this festival.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know what the word "Ati-Atihan" means?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
It is said that the festival began when a balangay, a type of boat, came to the island of Panay, with ten chieftains, in Filipino called datu, who had fled Borneo with their families, slaves, and warriors, or mandirigma. In exchange for a golden hat, or salakot, and other resources, they bought the land from the native inhabitants, after which they held a number of festivities in celebration.
However, when the Philippines was conquered by the Spanish and became a Catholic country, the festival was changed and given a Christian background.
Nowadays, the festival is celebrated over the course of one week, beginning with a mass on the first day. Celebrations start on the second day with a procession, while praying the rosary, or rosaryo, and end with a mass. In the middle of the week, there is a lively parade where seventeen of the towns of Aklan showcase their unique culture, dances, and skills. But the Ati-Atihan celebrations are not only religious in nature, they also provide a platform for numerous local bands, or lokal na banda, and artists to perform each night in recognition of Filipino pop culture.
The final day of the festival brings the most excitedly anticipated celebration, the parade of body-painted dancers, wearing fancy costumes and dancing to the beat of the drums. Spectators are also invited to join in the dancing, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. The celebrations end with a procession, where participants bring candles and images of the Holy Child.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what the word "Ati-Atihan" means?
Ati-Atihan means “to pretend to be an Aeta.” According to accounts, when the chieftains who escaped from Borneo arrived, they were welcomed by the Aetas. As a token of appreciation, the Aetas prepared a feast in which they painted the faces of the newcomers to make them look like Aetas.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever participated in a festival like the Ati-Atihan Festival before?
Leave us a comment telling us at FilipinoPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!