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Kadayawan Festival in Davao

Kadayawan Festival in Davao

In the city of Davao, Philippines, a festival that celebrates by offering thanksgiving for life, nature’s gifts and bountiful harvests is held from the 13th to the 19th of August. One of the significant fetes in the country, the Kadayawan Festival seeks to make an appreciation for all of life’s good things, including good health, and is rooted in pagan deity worship. Throughout the city, colorful events come alive with dance competitions, street performances, and the floral float parade

Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte (right) samples traditional food that visitors may also find at the Kadayawan Village during the opening of the 34th Kadayawan Festival on Friday (2 August 2019) at the Ramon Magsaysay Park. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

History of Kadayawan Festival:

The indigenous tribes of this region use to go up mount Apo for sacrificial worship to their idol gods of fertility and good fortune. Only the best of the farm produce harvest such as fruit, rice, and vegetables were offered to Manama and Bulan, the Supreme Being and moon deity respectively. This was done to show honor and gratitude, with the ancient tribes of Davao and Visayans gathering in the middle of a moonlit night. 

‘Kadayaw’ or ‘Dayaw’ was the name that the full moon was addressed as during these midnight rituals, giving rise to the name of the festival. The indigenous ancestors believed that ‘diwata’ came to the earth to bless it when the moon was full. The moon was also worshiped since it enabled them to collect the harvest in full since work can continue under the moonlight.

These ethnic-linguistic tribes of the Davao region’s ways and culture as showcased in the Kadayawan village include those of the;

  • The Maguindanao
  • The Iranun
  • The Tausug
  • The Ata
  • The Matigsalug
  • The Kagan
  • The Sama
  • The Maranao
  • The Taga-Bawa
  • The Ovu-Manuva

Since the early ’70s, the tribal heathen fete’s have been replaced by the Kadayawan festival of today; where fruits, rice, vegetables, and corn are displayed as a representation of the people’s gratitude. They perform street dances, put on magnificent floral floats, and take part in singing and other competitions to appease the divine protector.  The Kadayawan festival has become a showcase of the island’s culture ingrained with indigenous history while appreciating the Philippines wealth of food and tradition.

What Happens During The Kadayawan Festival?

This week-long cultural fete is characterized by open-hearted locals that are glad to share the joy of life with everyone else. The Davao city-regions unique blend of diversity in indigenous tribes experiences unity under the theme of thanksgiving for a bountiful season and harvest, which is enshrined within the Kadayawan festival. For seven days, locals and travelers alike revel in dance, music, drink, and food all over the city of Davao, with bustling fruit markets and flower parades.

Kadayawan festival’s unique confluence of rhythmic ethnic beats is punctuated only by multiple major celebratory events.  These events have different timings, and it’s advisable to gather relevant information from your tour agent or hotel. Events that should not be missed during the Kadayawan festival include;

Lumadnong Gama

This event kicks off the Kadayawan festival and featured traditional cuisines from the city’s ten regional tribes coupled with cultural artifact showcases. The ‘Lumadnong Gama’ serves as an educational tour of past and present Davao, which acts as a perfect introduction for the festivals event program. 

Indak-Indak Sa Kadalanan

Things go a notch higher with the ‘Indak-Indak Sa Kadalanan,’ which is a street dance with its self-replenishing reserves of energy and excitement. The dances take place all over the major roads of Davao city and culminate in a final face-off at the city’s Rizal Park.

Hudyakaan Sa Kadayawan

After the hectic clash of the Indak-Indak Sa Kadalanan, a three-week-long bazaar specializing in food and drink takes place within the Rizal Park. Refresh and refuel yourself as you indulge in local delicacies such as the grilled banana ‘ginanggang’ and the raw fish ‘kinilaw.’ Stalls stand within the park in endless rows, where you can indulge your festive senses with an aimless wander around.

The Dayaw Market

At the ‘Dayaw’ market, a collection of local organic produce is sustainably available from the season’s harvest. A cornucopia of ‘rambutans,’ ‘marangs’ and ‘mangosteens’ are ripe for the picking complemented by a dig into fresh ‘durian,’ the celebrated king of Davao’s fruits.

Pamulak Sa Kadayawan

The finale to the thanksgiving and tribute paying Kadayawan festival is the flower-themed ‘Pamulak Sa Kadayawan’ parade. This colorful ensemble brings the festivities with the season’s other bountiful harvest, the incredibly beautiful flowers the region is famed for. A grand flotilla of floral floats fills the major thoroughfares of Davao city, which floods with intricately decorated and mobile colorful blooms. 

Come to Davao City’s Kasadyaan Festival 2019:

Other events that constitute the Kadayawan festival include; the Misa Pasasalamat, which is the opening mass and the Agri-trade fair’s creations and displays of the Davaoan floricultural sector. The Kasadayawan Sa Davao 3d Light Show is  Davao City Hall’s light show in 3D while the Mugna Kadayawan is an on the spot art competition narrating Davao history on the wall.  When you visit the Kasadyaan festival 2019, you will be very ‘Madayaw’ which is the local dialects word for welcome and means something prized, profitable and valuable. 

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