Marcos Urges Señor Sto. Niño Devotees to Preserve Filipino Identity

Devotees hold images of Sto. Niño during the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City on January 27, 2024. Devotees dance and sing to express their gratitude and devotion to the Sto. Niño or the Infant Jesus. PHOTOS BY MIKE ALQUINTO
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In Iloilo City, Philippines, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently extended his greetings to the people and emphasized the importance of preserving and promoting Filipino identity. Speaking at the Dinagyang Festival, a grand celebration dedicated to Santo Niño, the Holy Child, President Marcos encouraged the devotees of Señor Sto. Niño to come together and safeguard their cultural heritage.

President Marcos recognized the Dinagyang Festival as a powerful reminder of the collective responsibility that all Filipinos share in preserving, protecting, and promoting their unique identity in the face of changing times. He emphasized that by working together, the Filipino people can ensure the continuity of their distinct way of life, uniting as one nation and moving towards a brighter future.

The Dinagyang Festival is a vibrant showcase of the spirit and unity of the people of Iloilo. President Marcos acknowledged the festival’s ability to reflect the rich and colorful mosaic that represents all indigenous groups in the Philippines. This includes the brave and enduring Ati people, who are particularly honored during the festivities.

Held annually on the fourth Sunday of January, the Dinagyang Festival is one of the most significant celebrations in the country. It brings together locals and visitors alike to pay homage to Santo Niño and celebrate the cultural diversity and resilience of the Filipino people.

The festival is a spectacle of music, dance, and elaborate costumes. The streets of Iloilo City come alive with vibrant performances, showcasing the unique traditions and customs of the region. Traditional dances, such as the “Dinagyang” and the “Ati-Atihan,” captivate audiences with their rhythmic movements and colorful attire.

Beyond the entertainment value, the Dinagyang Festival holds deep cultural and historical significance. It is a testament to the enduring faith and devotion of the Filipino people. The festival’s origins can be traced back to the early 1960s when a replica of the Santo Niño was brought to Iloilo City from Cebu. Inspired by the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan, the people of Iloilo City decided to create their own version of the festival, incorporating their unique cultural elements.

The Dinagyang Festival serves as a platform for the people of Iloilo City to express their pride in their heritage and strengthen their sense of community. It is an occasion for locals and visitors to come together, appreciate the diversity of Filipino culture, and foster a deeper understanding of the country’s history.

In addition to the festivities, the Dinagyang Festival also plays a significant role in the local economy. The influx of tourists during the celebration provides opportunities for businesses to thrive and showcase their products. From local delicacies to handicrafts, visitors have the chance to experience the richness of Iloilo’s cultural offerings.

As President Marcos emphasized, the Dinagyang Festival is not just a celebration but also a call to action. It serves as a reminder for all Filipinos to actively participate in preserving and promoting their cultural identity. By embracing their roots, the Filipino people can ensure the preservation of their traditions for future generations.

In conclusion, the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City is a vibrant celebration that highlights the cultural diversity and resilience of the Filipino people. President Marcos’s message of preserving and promoting Filipino identity resonates with the devotees of Señor Sto. Niño, urging them to come together and safeguard their heritage. The festival serves as a reminder for all Filipinos to actively participate in preserving their distinct way of life, ensuring a brighter future for the nation.

Source: The Manila Times

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