Pahiyas Festival is a feast held during the “summer” or dry months in the Philippines. It is celebrated every 15th of May by the townsfolk of Lucban, Quezon Province in the Philippines. The feast is conducted in honor of the town’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, to thank him for the harvest through a flamboyant display of colorful leaves fashioned out of ground rice, and actual fruits and vegetables that are tacked onto the facades of every house in Lucban.
The festival’s name, “Pahiyas,” is derived from Tagalog words “hiyas” which means “gems/jewels for offering.” During the 16th century, as the Spaniards spread Christianity throughout the Philippine archipelago, friars tell the legend of the statue of San Isidro disappearing from the church altar to plow the fields, ensuring a good harvest. As the legend gained acceptance among the farmers, the local people prepare a feast in honor of the patron saint of farmers every year.
Every year, in preparation for the feast, locals decorate their homes with colorful rice wafer chandeliers (called “Aranya”), handicrafts and other farm produce in artistic patterns.
Aside from the annual recognition of the most exquisitely decorated home, the feast includes a centuries-old tradition wherein statues of San Isidro and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza, are paraded in town in a solemn procession. The statue of Santa Maria de la Cabeza holds a basket of biscuits, which would later be given away to eager children.
The feast has gained attention from local tourists as well as foreigners not only because of the colorful display but also because of the local delicacies prepared inside each home.
Image courtesy of Wiki Pilipinas.