These are the “must –see” festivals in Pampanga which are uniquely Kapampangan in character and rendition.
1. Ibon-Ebun Festival - The 6th Ibon Ebun Festival was held February 8-10. The fest is a tribute to the lucrative duck egg industry in Candaba. The wild Philippine duck known as Dumara successfully breeds in the Candaba swamps.
The third day saw the Grand Street Dancing Parade, Karerang Itik, Best Dressed Itik Pageant and the Itik Cooking Contest. The first two days were spent in the intertown boat race, kite flying, bird watching, trade fairs, and art exhibits.
2. Caragan Festival – is held every third week of February as part of the month-long celebration of the Mabalacat fiesta. Caragan was lthe first chieftain. He was a native Aeta who married Laureana Tolentino.
The street dance covered three kilometers and starts from the Poblacion until Barangay Mabiga. Floats, costumes, and headdresses showcasing Aeta customs and traditions dominate the presentations.
3. Sabuaga Festival - It means the “showering of flowers" to honor our Blessed Mother Mary. Sto Tomas town holds this activity every Easter Sunday starting at 10 a.m. It aims to promote the products and tradition of the six barangays through the street dancing which are free interpretation of their trade & industry. As the image of the Blessed Mother passes, flowers are strewn.
4. Apung Iru Fluvial Festival, Apalit - on June 27 the image of St. Peter or Apung Iru to the locals is taken from its sanctuary in Capalangan and brought to the Apalit parish church where it will stay till June 30.
A decorated pagoda is carried by the menfolk and ferried along Pampanga river routes. Devotees riding colorfully decorated bancas and motorboats dance and pray around the image.
5. Duman Festival - held in Sta Rita every first Saturday of December. Food booths which sell duman delicacies and Kapampangan cuisine surround the parish church . The tradition of pounding and winnowing unripe glutinous rice till it turns to a green delicacy called duman is conducted amidst singing and merriment.
6. Makatapak Festival – every November 17, Bacolor re-enacts how the townspeople walked through lahar barefooted as they fled to seek refuge on higher and safer grounds.
7. San Pedro Cutud Crucifixion Rites - now an international tourist attraction. At 3 p.m. on Good Friday, three flagellants are actually nailed on the crosses mounted on a man-made hill. The crucifixion is preceded by the Via Crucis which starts from poblacion and culminates in Barangay San Pedro Cutud.
8. Sinukwan Festival - is highlighted by the grand street dance parade that passes the streets of the city of San Fernando and where the towns of Pampanga compete in dancing to the tune of “ Atin Cu Pung Singsing.”
9. Giant Lantern - the Saturday before Christmas Eve, everyone troops to San Fernando City to witness the dancing lights of lanterns 20 feet in diameter and weighing 1,000 kilos. Last year, these lanterns were displayed in the embassies in Thailand, Ireland, China, and Austria.
10. El Circulo Fernandino - organized in 1920, it is the oldest surviving social club in Pampanga. In the night of the annual ball, the elite of the province dance the Rigodon wearing their most elegant gowns, ternos, and barong Tagalog. The night glitters with the shine of expensive jewelry worn by the ladies. (CLJD/Rebecca Grace S. David-PIA3)