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Fiesta , although the word fiesta is Spanish, Filipinos have made it their own. It is not unusual for entire towns to participate in the celebration. Planning can take up to a year, and the decorations, costumes and events are often both expensive and lavish.

Like Pahiyas, almost every major fiesta in the Philippines has its roots in the pre-colonial period. The god Bathala created the land and the sea and his creations have always been part of the actual and mystical way of live in the Philippines. The sea and the land provide food and shelter, but the spirits of nature who dwell in these places are not always benign and must be appeased. When the Spaniards came they brought with them a new God and new spirits who had to be honored too. To the adaptable Filipino, a celebration for one god should please another as well.

Principal fiesta themes are fertility and planting, harvest, adoration and supplication. Sometimes they can be a combination of several themes such as the danced rites at Obando, which is both a supplication of infertile women to San Pascual and Santa Clara to bless them with a child hand a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

The Ati-Atihan held on Kalibo, Aklan is another combined festival. Originally it was celebrated by the Negritos (Ati) to commemorate their new friendship with the Bornean datus. However, four or five centuries later, the Panay Filipinos borrowed the festival to celebrate the Santo Niño’s intervention on their behalf against the marauding pirates of Mindanao.


  • "Fiesta"filipinoheritage 2005 (accessed on August 30,2007)



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