The Philippines as known by everyone is a country of festivals. It implies the idea of people that life has never run out of reasons to celebrate for and that we should be more than thankful.
In the south of Luzon in Lucban is the home of one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines, which has become a tourist attraction. This has been known not just to the Quezon townsfolks, but also to the people of metropolitan cities.
Every 15th of May, a celebration is conducted to give honor to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Here, the Lucban farmers express their gratitude for a bountiful harvest through a generous display of colorful rice wafers, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts arrayed in every house in town.
Dating back to the 16th century, it was believed that San Isidro Labrador magically plowed their field every time he goes to a church that results in a bountiful harvest. This belief was passed from generation to generation originating from the Spaniard colonization.
“Pahiyas” came from the Filipino term “hiyas” meaning “jewel,” and so, “Pahiyas” means “precious offering.” This merrymaking in Luzon is a much awaited day for the residents where the streets come to life with vibrant colors and houses were decorated with their abundant harvests. Chandeliers are made with two to three layers of “kiping” or rice wafers.
Highlighted in the festival is the procession on the streets of Lucban, the devotees carrying the image of San Isidro Labrador and the people awaits for the passing of the image. Included in the procession is a huge paper mache of a farmer and his wife leading the procession, followed by the patron saint of the farmers and Sta. Maria de la Cabeza is carrying a basket of biscuits for the children during the parade. During the culmination, awe – inspiring food sharing among the residents and guests is being done.
Since the town is full of colors from houses to the streets, part of the festival is a competition for the best-decorated house. The winning house with agricultural products then throws away its decorations to the crowd as free treats! Families also display their harvests in front of their houses during the procession so that parish priests can bless them as they pass on their streets.
If words may not be enough, this celebration is Lucban’s way of extending gratitude for an abundant year of harvest. With the Pahiyas Festival in mid – summer, come, enjoy and leave the place as thankful as ever!