The Filipinos are well accustomed to numerous festivities held in the different parts of the Philippines. Their roots trace back to hundreds of years ago and the spirit continues to persist as the tradition is passed from one generation to another. Not only first class provinces and towns celebrate festivals. Even less prosperous municipalities prepare for colourful celebrations.
Tanjay is a fourth class city in Negros Occidental. It celebrates a unique religious tradition. Sinulog de Tanjay is more wide known as Saulog de Tanjay to distinguish it from the Sinulog Festival of Cebu. It is held every July 24, preceding the city’s fiesta. The celebration depicts the battle between Christians and Moros in Granada, Spain centuries ago. It is also meant to honour Saint James who, according to the legends, descended from heaven riding on a white horse. He helped the Christians by slaying hundreds of Moros.
Sinulog de Tanjay is the original Sinulog and it dates back to 1814. It reached its milestone in 1988 when Tanjay mayor Arturo Regalado gave emphasis to the celebration. He initiated the Sinulog contest which until now serves as the highlight of the event. It is a competition that shows the true meaning of the festivity. The participating groups portray the religious battle and incorporate it with graceful dance movements. With the colourful costumes and lively accompaniment of percussions, the dancers bring the cheerful spirit of art and festivity.
The festival is usually opened by a Sinulog Merry-Making Contest on July 23. The whole day of July 24 is made lively by endless street dances and endurance contests. On the eve of the festival, a parade is held to honour the town patron Señor Santiago. It also serves as a kick-off for the fiesta the next day. Due to the tireless dances and thanksgiving of the Tanjayenos, the festival never fails to attract tourists. It also gives pride not just to the citizens of Tanjay, but of the whole nation as well.
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