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The Pahiyas Festival - Philippines Travel Guide
The Philippines is a country which has a majority of Catholics. Because of the Catholic Religion’s majority and the people’s attitude which is warm, hospitable and full of happiness, Filipinos celebrate a lot of fiestas. They always celebrate feast to be thankful for all the blessings they receive and the saints that have blessed them for the past year.
One of the celebrations that Filipinos do to celebrate the thanksgiving is the Pahiyas festival. The Filipinos do this to give thanks to the bountiful harvest they have had for the past year. This feast is celebrated during the summer months of May 11 to 15 at the provincial towns of Candelaria, Lucban, Sariaya, Tayabas, Lucena and Tiaong. These feast honors Saint Isidro Labrador the patron saint of the farmers. This festival is among the biggest harvest festival in the country.
What started out as a gift giving ritual of the locals to the Francisco missionaries has turned into the festival that we know today. This is because the Franciscan missionaries were the ones who are responsible to bring Catholicism in their province of Quezon way back in 1583. When a priest named father Juan de Placencia took over, he decided that the ritual be continued. This is because a sign of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest they have had. The ritual was eventually continued by succeeding priests until it became a yearly ritual. The farmers believed that they should have their harvest blessed to prevent famine, drought and bad luck for the following harvest year.
This ritual became more prevalent because of the first parish priest father Miguel de Talavera. He asked the farmers to bring their harvest to the church to be blessed. The church started to become the place where the Pahiyas was celebrated when the blessings and harvest became more. To keep the tradition alive throughout generations, the locals decided to display their harvest on their homes. The priest will then visit the houses to bless the harvest.
The image of Saint Isidro Labrador is included in the procession of the priest to remember that this feast was commemorated for him. The houses that will be passed by along the route will then dress their houses to be the best with vegetables and fruits. The route every year is changed to give other houses the chance of taking part in the festival.
The houses become more attractive when they have displays of colorful kiping. They are strung up all together in the chandelier or huge flowers to from all shapes and sizes. The kiping will form into a cascade of colors when it caches the suns light.