NegOr’s Yuletide Mardi Gras Begins

Negros Oriental’s weeklong Kasadyaan Festival kicked off on Monday afternoon with the opening of the Kasadyaan Village and is set to culminate with the much-awaited annual lantern parade of the Foundation University (FU) on Saturday.

Originally called the Mardi Gras Festival when it began 69 years ago, the Kasadyaan Festival is a student activity held by FU every December that climaxes with a lantern parade patterned after that of the University of the Philippines.

The Kasadyaan Light Parade has earned its own following, as residents of this city look forward to it every December.

“The Kasadyaan Parade is the traditional light parade, the oldest and the only one in Negros Oriental,” said Girlie Bernardez, director of FU’s Office for University Advancement and Multimedia.

FU President Victor Vicente “Dean” Sinco explained that the original location of the school was at the then Alfonso XIII St., now known as Perdices St., and the Mardi Gras was held every December before the students go home for Christmas break.

“The students came up with the idea to have celebrations similar to the Lantern Parade of UP, and basically, they paraded around the block downtown,” Sinco said.

“It really is a student activity. We changed (the date) a little bit, before the finals, because these students have the tendency to just take off after finals, so we (will) have more participation,” he added.

Over the years, the Mardi Gras Festival has been renamed to Buglasan Festival, then to Kasadyaan Festival a few years back.

Bernardez said the provincial government of Negros Oriental now has its own Buglasan Festival, held every October. She said FU takes pride in being the birthplace of the festival.

The concept of the Buglasan Festival, she said, was for the towns of Negros Oriental to come up with a festival of all festivals. It was during the time of the late governor Emilio Macias II, when the administration festival was turned over to the provincial government, while FU came up with the now Kasadyaan Festival every Christmastime.

Among the highlights of the Kasadyaan Festival are the “Hara sa FU” beauty pageant, with nine candidates vying for the title on Thursday, and the “Gabie sa Pasundayag” (formerly known as the Frolics) at the Sofia Soler Sinco Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday. (PNA)

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