Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Various Faces of the Holy Child in Ati-Atihan 2015

Undulating neon colors. Earth-shaking chants and drumbeats. Spontaneous dance steps. This, indeed, is Ati-Atihan. But the “mother of all festivities in the Philippines” is more than just a vibrant celebration. Above everything else, Ati-Atihan, is about glorifying the Sto. Nino. I joined the celebration of Ati-Atihan 2015, specifically, the Sunday morning mass and the “sadsad” that happened after. During the homily, the bishop emphasized the inspiration that the Sto. Nino brings to us. His Holiness, Pope Francis, love children because, like the Holy Child, they (should) give hope. And whenever we pray, we should say: "Sto. Nino, bendisyunan ninyo kami" (Holy Child, bless us.)

A selfie with an "Ati" in colorful neon costume!

Creatively done costumes. I was impressed!

I, myself, had witnessed a powerful scene back in 2010, when our community in Malabon was razed by fire – an old woman tightly embracing her Sto. Nino statue, the only “property” she was able to save. This was the subject of the poem that I wrote and was published in CCP Ani Journal, three years ago. Thus, while dancing with the crowd, I took photos of various images of the Holy Child, during the “sadsad”. Filipinos just love dressing up their Ninos! The costumes usually reflect the owners' trades or hobbies; sometimes, they just wanted to adorn their Sto. Ninos, just because. Here are some of them.

Sto. Nino in white dress and red cape.
 The chipped off face brought the drama.

Sto. Nino in red, little boy shirt and shorts.
I love the smile of the owner, it's as if its his kid!

Sto. Nino in Mickey Mouse shirt.
The Holy Child was this old man's grandson.

Sto. Nino in a costume made of native materials 

Brown Sto. Nino with necklace

Sto. Nino with green bonnet

Sto. Nino wearing the same costume as the one holding him!

Sto. Nino in stripes!

There are no big or small Sto. Nino...

...and it didn't matter who holds him.

One of the best, indeed!
An old man in a Sto. Nino costume!

Sto. Nino de Mil Almas

Festivals like Ati-Atihan will always be here. I just hope that we do not forget the essence of these celebrations. I will be traveling the Philippines to witness these events. Gala pa more!

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