Pahiyas: A Unique and Creative Festival for Bountiful Harvests

Pahiyas Festival

Started in the mid-1500s, festivals became a huge part of living in the Philippines. It is a colorful and joyous activity of thanksgiving. Celebration of festivities is a huge influence of Spaniards to Filipinos as the first colonizers noticed the people’s love for gatherings. These celebrations continued over the years. Like before, it is still enjoyed by the Filipinos in commemoration of their town’s patron saint. One of the famous festivities in the Philippines happens every 15th of May in the province of Quezon. The townspeople express their gratitude to their patron saint for a bountiful harvest through an event named Pahiyas Festival.

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Brief History of Pahiyas Festival and Its Modernization

Filipinos were pagans who performs different rituals or ceremonies as a sign of worship to spirits, ancestral statues, or even nature. With the arrival of the colonizers, ceremonies changed how it is celebrated. The establishment of the catholic church made the blessing a part of the celebration.

Before the Spaniards came for colonization, it is a usual activity for farmers to provide offerings at the foot of Mount Banahaw. After their arrival, this tradition changed. Aside from bringing their offer to the mountain, they did the same in the church located in Lucban to honor St. Isidore the Laborer. Such an act is a way of expressing gratitude to the Lord and their patron saint for an abundant harvest. With the growing number of celebrators and offerings, the church had decided that instead of accommodating the agricultural produce of the farmers, they are instructed to display their plentiful harvests in their homes. Afterwards, the priest goes to each house and blesses the harvests at the farmer’s household.

Pahiyas Festival evolved over the years. From displaying offerings to decorating homes, the festivity became more colorful than ever. The transformation of the celebration became the root of how the event is named and known at present. Pahiyas came from the word “payas” which means “to decorate”.

Happenings During Celebration of Pahiyas Festival

Despite the transformation of how the festival is enjoyed by the townspeople, its essence of thanksgiving for the abundance of harvest has not faded. Houses are decorated with the harvest of the people. In addition to the vegetable and fruits used for beautifying their houses during the festival, longganisas and kipings were also utilized as ornamentations. This is what makes Pahiyas Festival a unique celebration among the festivities enjoyed in the Philippines.

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Like any other festivals, parades and dances happen. A procession is held also to commemorate St. Isidore the Laborer. Of course, what is a Filipino celebration without food right? A festivity is not complete without enjoying food with the community. But this is just one of the exciting parts of the celebration. There is another activity called “kalas” in which the people will try to remove the harvests, serving as decors, of each house and the owners must prevent the townsfolk from successfully taking away the agricultural produce.

Lucban Residents’ Essentials for Pahiyas Festival

Indeed, festivals in the Philippines are colorful as every Filipino celebrator exhibits their creativity to make the event more fun and attractive not only for the townspeople but to attract tourists as well. But this festival in Lucban has its own style which made it unique. That being said, here are the notable features or the things that will always be present in the celebration.

1. Anok

This is a miniature mannequin that represents the image of farmers. This is displayed during the festival and this dummy is fully clothed in an outfit of a farmer. Some compliment it with farming tools to fully show how farmers work. Since it is a tradition for this group, it became a way for the people to feel and remember the true essence of celebrating this festivity.

2. Kipings

This is a decoration during the celebration of the festival. This is made from glutinous rice shaped into colorful leaves. Food color is the main dyeing ingredient of this ornament. Not only that it is beautiful, but it is also edible as well. Furthermore, these are arranged in a chandelier-like design which is called “aranya”.

3. Longganisa

This is the Spanish version of American sausages. It is made from ground pork spiced with garlic, pepper, onion, and extracts of oregano stuffed in dried pig intestines. Aside from the fruits and vegetable designs in front of the Lucban residents’ homes, these are displayed as well. This is also a staple food of the Lucban community.

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Necessary Preparation for Attending Pahiyas Festival

If you are a tourist, it would be beneficial to search for what’s happening at the event. But these tips will help provide you with a guide to follow in your preparation for a trip to Lucban.

1. Know the Usual Programs

Despite being a fun event, necessary programs will be performed at this festival. Remember that this is in commemoration of the St. Isidore the Laborer so eucharistic mass and processions are expected. Since this is a festival, dance and parades will take place also. But over the years, the usual sequence of events is as follows: 1) mass, 2) timpalak pahiyas – contest for homes with the best decoration, 3) grand parade, and 4) enjoying of Lucban’s delicacies.

2. Have a place to stay

To fully enjoy the place, it is better to decide on staying for a few days. There are a lot of resorts and hotels to relax in depending on your budget. Some of the choices are: 1) Batis Aramin Hotel, 2) Grand Central Hotel, 3) Queen Margarette Hotel (Mauban and Lucban), and 4) Patio Rizal Hotel Restaurant. Staying in Quezon for a few days provides you with a greater chance of memorable adventures and further discovery of the beauty of Lucban aside from its well-known festivity. Although, it is advisable to book in advance as hotels and resorts easily get fully booked because of the huge number of tourists who wish to witness and take part in the event.

3. Self-care Kit

Since it is celebrated in the streets and is a day-long event, it is better to wear something comfortable to fight the heat of summer as the festival happens during the summer season. Sunblock may help protect your skin from the heat of the sun and a water jug will keep you hydrated during the fun activities of this event.

4. More Explorations

Lucban is not only known for its unique and colorful festival. Its street foods are encouraged to be tried by tourists. Some of the delicacies enjoyed by many are:

1) pilipit – breaded squash with sweet syrup,

2) pancit habhab – noodles served with vinegar for added flavor; eaten without utensils, only with the use of hands, mouth, and banana leaf, and

3) longganisang lucban.

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Indeed, the Philippines is a nice place to live in. The people are welcoming and different ways of celebration happens especially in provinces. The Philippines is a country where you can be happy in simple ways because of the good people around you and the scenic spots you can enjoy for relaxation. To enjoy the festivals and the beauty of nature in the Philippines, you may try to invest in Bria Homes. It provides affordable house and lot nationwide. In fact, it offers residential units in the neighboring provinces of Quezon such as Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and Rizal. The Philippines may not be the most sophisticated and fancy in terms of living and its environment but for sure, its simplicity will attract you and realize the beauty of life especially if you enjoy gatherings and festivals.