The Three Important Festivals Dedicated to Sto. Niño in The Philippines

January is not only the first year of the month for Filipinos. It’s the month dedicated to Sto. Niño or the Child Jesus.

The Philippines has several festivals dedicated to the Sto. Niño that they celebrate or commemorate every January. With a diverse culture, it’s only right that every region enjoys and shares its culture with other kababayans. The most common one Filipinos know is the Sinulog festival of Cebu.

The month of January has three of the popular festivals dedicated to Sto. Niño or the Child Jesus. These festivals do not only show the culture of the provinces but also practice their faith and are often explored by tourists from around the world. Here are the three festivals.

Three Festivals dedicated to Sto. Niño

Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog Festival is most the popular of the festivals dedicated to the Child Jesus. According to its history, Sinulog is derived from the word “sulog” or water current concerning the dance done during the festival. Its history traces back to 1521 when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan came to Cebu and presented the statue of the child Jesus to Queen Juana, the wife of Rajah Humabon. Since then dances led by the Sinulog queen happen during the festival.

The Sinulog Festival is held every third Sunday of January. Before the main event, a series of activities and competitions are held including the Sinulog Queen Competition, dance competitions, and displays of the statues of Sto. Niño.

Ati-Atihan Festival

Ati-Atihan is the next most popular festival that pays tribute to the Sto. Niño. Families usually celebrate this festival in Kalibo, Aklan. It also holds the moniker of being the “mother” of the three festivals.

Ati-Atihan means “making like Atis,” which are the natives of Aklan. They color themselves in black and dress in tribal costumes. They mark their celebration with music and shouts of “Hala Bira.”

Like its sister festivals Sinulog and Dinagyang, Ati-Atihan celebrates with street dances, photo contests, and a parade.

Dinagyang Festival

The last of the three festivals is Ilo-Ilo’s Dinagyang festival. “Dinagyang” is a Hiligaynon word that means merrymaking. It also celebrates the pact between the Datus and its locals. Like Ati-Atihan and Sinulog, Dinagyang features street dances, parades, concert and musical performances, art festivals, and various contests.

What’s more, it’s the last festival dedicated to the Sto. Niño and closes January’s festivities.

Viva Sto. Niño!

There are other festivals commemorating the Sto. Niño in the country but the big three have always been the festivals to enjoy. So if you’re heading to the Visayas region, celebrate and have fun. Pit Señor!

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