Ati Atihan festival

Ati Atihan Festival

Ati Atihan Festival is popular festival in Philippine, that is observed by Kalibo, Aklan every year on 3rd Sunday of January month.It celebrated by local people in honor of the Santo Niño (Holy Child or Infant Jesus) in various towns of the province of Aklan, Panay Island.

Ati-Atihan is a colorful celebration that embraces Filipino culture and tradition.

Experience it for yourself to truly appreciate its history and vibrancy. Whether you’re joining in the festivities or just soaking up the atmosphere, Ati-Atihan promises to be an unforgettable experience! From watching the parade of tribes and their floats, to taking part in street parties and religious processions, make sure to join the celebration and create some amazing memories.

What is Ati Atihan Festival?

Ati-Atihan is a popular and vibrant festival celebrated each year in the Philippines.

It is also known as “The Mother of all Philippine Festivals” as it has its roots in the ancient traditional celebrations of pre-colonial Filipino tribes. The name “Ati-Atihan” is derived from the words “ati” meaning “ancestors” and “atihan” meaning “to make noise.”

The festival is a celebratory event embracing music, dance, costumes, parades, and feasts that symbolize Filipino culture and tradition.

It is celebrated on 3rd Sunday of Jan month (each year).

Here’s when the Ati Atihan festival is celebrated in recent years and when it will be in upcoming years:

  • 2023 date January 15
  • 2024 date January 21
  • 2025 date January 19
  • 2026 date January 18
  • 2027 date January 17

What is the History of Ati Atihan Festival?

Ati-Atihan has a long and rich history. The festival was traditionally celebrated by various Pre-Spanish Filipino tribes such as the Aetas, Subanon, Tumandok, Tagbanwa, and Ata in honor of their deities. Legends say that during this celebration, the natives would dress up in colorful costumes, dance and sing in honor of their gods.

The modern Ati-Atihan Festival started in the year 1212 AD when ten Bornean Datus (Datu is a Malay royal title) landed on the island of Panay and were welcomed by the locals with a grand festival. The Datu negotiated peace with the Subanon tribe in exchange for a gold bracelet and three golden gongs. This event became known as the “Sandugo” or “Blood Compact” and is now celebrated annually at the Ati-Atihan Festival.

How Did The Ati-Atihan Festival Start?

The modern Ati-Atihan fest may be traced back to the year 1212 AD, when 10 Bornean Datus, who held the royal title of Datu in Malay, arrived on the island of Panay and were greeted by the inhabitants with a spectacular party.

This marked the beginning of the festival as we know it today. In exchange for a gold bracelet and three golden gongs, the Datu tribe was able to arrange a peace treaty with the Subanon people. This occasion is today remembered as the “Sandugo” or the “Blood Compact” and is commemorated on a yearly basis during the Ati-Atihan Festival.

What is the History of the Celebration of Ati-Atihan Festival?

The celebration of Ati-Atihan has evolved over time from a solemn event to a colorful and riotous street festival.

Initially, it was celebrated for a week at the start of January and was a solemn event featuring parades and masses in honor of Santo Niño (the Infant Jesus). Over time, the celebration became more festive as different tribes began to incorporate their own traditions into the festival.

Today, Ati-Atihan has become one of the biggest and most vibrant festivals in the Philippines, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

When is Ati-Atihan Festival?

The Ati-Atihan Festival takes place annually during the third week of January on the island of Panay. The festival usually begins with a grand opening parade featuring colorful floats and costumed dancers. After this, the festivities start in earnest, with street parties, parades, markets and trade fairs springing up throughout the city.

How To Celebrate Ati-Atihan Festival?

The best place to go for Ati-Atihan Festival is Kalibo, Aklan in the Philippines. It’s the home of the festival and it takes center stage during this time of year. There are plenty of activities available such as street dancing, religious processions, trade fairs, and food parks.

So make sure that Kalibo is on your list for the Ati-Atihan Festival!

Additionally, it may be a good idea to bring a few items with you. Comfortable clothing and shoes are essential. It’s also important to remember sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses as the sun can be quite strong during this time of year. Other items such as a camera, cash, and snacks are also handy to have on hand.

Watching the Parade of Tribes and their Floats

The celebration starts with a parade of tribes from the different provinces. Each tribe brings floats that represent their culture, religion, and tradition. The colorful display is usually accompanied by cheerful music and marching bands. It’s an impressive sight to see and will surely add to your Ati-Atihan experience.

Joining the Ati-Atihan Street Dancing Activity

Another highlight of the festival is the street dance activity. Locals and visitors alike can join in on the fun and groove along with traditional Filipino music. It’s a great way to get involved in the culture and show your appreciation for the Ati-Atihan Festival.

Listen to Ati-Atihan Music

The music of the festival is also an integral part of the celebration. The traditional Filipino tunes are upbeat and cheerful, making it a great way to get in the festive spirit. There are plenty of local musicians playing live performances throughout the celebration, so you can always find some great tunes to dance and sing along to.

Attending Religious Processions

Ati-Atihan is also a religious event. There are many processions going on throughout the festival for Catholics from various provinces. These processions often start in front of churches and end in designated areas such as parks. You can join in on the processions and experience this unique part of Filipino culture.

Visiting Trade Fairs and Food Parks

Ati-Atihan is also a great place to shop, as there are many trade fairs and food parks throughout the celebration. You can find all sorts of goods from different provinces here, such as traditional clothing, crafts, and other souvenirs. There are also plenty of food stalls that offer delicious local cuisine to sample.

Fun Facts About Ati-Atihan Festival

Ati-Atihan is an event that celebrates culture, religion, and tradition. Here are some facts about the festival:

  • It is one of the oldest festivals in the Philippines, having been celebrated for over 800 years.
  • It is the most popular and largest festival in the country, with hundreds of thousands of people attending each year.
  • The highlight of Ati-Atihan is the street dancing activity, where participants dress up in colorful costumes and perform traditional dances to lively music.
  • The festival is held annually in the third week of January on the island of Panay.
  • It has become a symbol of Filipino identity and culture that is celebrated both locally and internationally.

Ati-Atihan is a vibrant celebration that brings Filipinos together to honor their ancestors and their culture. For visitors, it is an opportunity to immerse themselves in the spirit of Philippine life and experience the festivities firsthand. Whether you’re watching the parade of tribes and floats, joining in on street dancing activities, or trying out different local delicacies, Ati-Atihan is definitely an event you won’t want to miss!

So join the fun, celebrate with your fellow Filipinos, and make lasting memories at this one-of-a-kind celebration.


Ati-Atihan is a vibrant festival that celebrates Filipino culture, religion, and tradition.

From watching the parade of tribes and their floats, to taking part in street parties and religious processions, it’s an experience that you don’t want to miss!

Experience the culture, feel the energy, and get lost in the music!

FAQs –

1. How does an Ati-Atihan costume look like?

The costume typically consists of vibrant and colorful attire. Participants wear native clothing made from traditional materials such as woven fabrics and accessories like beaded necklaces, bracelets, and headpieces. The costume often features bright colors like red, yellow, green, and blue. Feathers and other decorative elements are sometimes added to enhance the festive appearance.

2. Where can you buy an Ati-Atihan festival costume?

The festival costumes can be purchased from local costume shops, markets, or online stores that specialize in traditional clothing and accessories. It’s a good idea to look for stores or sellers that have a reputation for providing authentic and well-crafted costumes.

3. What is the date of celebration for Ati-Atihan?

It is celebrated in the Philippines every third Sunday of January in the town of Kalibo, Aklan, which is located in the Visayas region. The festival usually lasts for a week and includes various events, processions, dances, and rituals.

4. What instruments are used in the Ati Atihan festival?

This festival is accompanied by lively music and traditional instruments that add to the festive atmosphere. Commonly used instruments include drums, tambourines, bamboo flutes, trumpets, and other percussive instruments. These instruments create a rhythmic and energetic sound that complements the vibrant celebrations.

5. What type of Ati-Atihan face paint should you use?

Ati Atihan face paint is an essential part of the festival’s attire. Participants often use black body paint to mimic the appearance of the indigenous Ati people, whom the festival honors. You can use non-toxic, water-based black face paint that is safe for the skin. It’s recommended to test the paint on a small area of skin before applying it to your face to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Remember to follow proper guidelines for application and removal to protect your skin.

Author: Hare Krishna