SASMUAN -- This town’s old ritual dance festival, which traces its roots to Kapampangan pre-hispanic faith, will officially end the Yuletide Season here and usher a fresh start for the New Year.
The five-day dance ritual is in honor of the town's patron saint and the Feast of the Epiphany.
A mix crowd of devotees, people with disabilities and tourists will form part of the endless sea of participants to this year's “Kuraldal Atlung Ari.” Kuraldal Atlung Ari is an annual folk religious dance ritual that has spawned hundreds of followers and believers through the years.
It takes place at the chapel of St. Lucy, with participants taking part in a series of impassioned dances.
The occasion is one for merrymaking and revelry, where rich and savory food abound and goodwill flows as Sasmuaneños open their homes to family, friends, pilgrims and strangers.
January 6, in the Catholic calendar, is used to be known and commemorated as the Feast of the Three Kings, thus the term Atlung Ari (Three Kings), according to historian Nina Tomen.
Devotees from across Pampanga and neighboring provinces troop to this town, bringing with them hopes that an ardent wish, a long-awaited pregnancy and an immediate cure for disease would be granted with their participation in the festivity.
Tomen said Kuraldal Atlung Ari will end with a bang on January 10, the evening of the "kawakasan" (ending).
After the 6:00 pm procession of the image of Apung Lucia, a street Mass will be held in front of the barangay chapel, where thousands of devotees are expected to flock to honor their beloved patron saint.
The event is also an instant commercial opportunity for local merchants who clog the streets of this town selling their wares.
The Kuraldal ritual also provides an opportunity for local food trippers to sample the local delicacies of this town.