Sometimes all you need is a splash of colour! Another festival is making its name known around the world with its interesting and enjoyable feature! Festival enthusiasts from around the world, party goers, people from different generations, tourists flocks together to celebrate this Festival in Negros Occidental.
The festival is originally called the “Ati Atihan” Festival. But an event way back in May 1957 changed the Festivals name. Cadiz locals viewed this event as a positive sign of fortune and prosperity from above. Group of whales measuring 40ft long and 8ft. in height were seen gathered in the town’s shore followed by another group of whales after five days. Thus the birth of the term “Dinagsa” which means” to gather or come together” was made. The event gave Cadiz City the title City of Whales.
Dinagsa Festival is a week-long celebration held every month of January to bring honour to
Señor Sto. Niño or the infant Jesus. This festival was born for the purpose of pulling the people away from their acts of misconduct specifically their being fond of cockfights during fiesta and helping them focus on what is truly the essence of coming together and that is to give thanks and praises to their Patron Saint.
So what makes this festival so popular that people from different places join to celebrate is because of their “Lamhitanay” event! Also known as smearing or smudging in english. This event is the gem! It makes Cadiz City looks like a painting canvas splattered with different colours. Literally, the town is covered in paint! It is an unusually thrilling experience since all Dinagsa attendees are expected to participate. Yes! Your presence in the City means that you are ready to get yourself inked!
No one is exempted from getting dirty, be it a local or a visitor. Refrain from getting angry or saying No because you will be offending the locals of the City. If you choose not to have yourself inked then it’s safer to stay home. But hey! This is a unique experience you might not want miss out on! Brace yourself and have paint smeared on your face, hair, inside your ears, and even your clean car.
Roam the streets with your white or black shirt. People usually wear white or black to see an artwork from those combined colours and save it as a souvenir. Armed yourself with your paint or you can buy it at the stalls in the streets. Some even bring their toy guns or paint brushes as a weapon to smear you. Have your cameras wrapped in plastic bags or secure it so as not to have it stained. You can bring a clean set of clothes BUT I advise you go home as dirty as you are since you can’t escape the City looking clean and spotless!
Like any other festivals the City is filled with a mushroom of kiosks, locals smudged with black paint performing street dances, bouncy drum beats, peryas and carnival rides, live bands, etc. Their parade showcasing our infant Jesus is a must see event!
If you want to be bold and be a pop of color in this black and white world then you must definitely join the festival! Experience and enjoy their culture!