May 11 - 15
Pahiyas is the harvest festival and is observed in the towns of Lucban, Candelaria, Tayabas, Sariaya, Tiaong and Lucena City in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Considered one the Philippines’ biggest harvest festivals, it is deeply rooted in the traditional celebration of thanksgiving for bountiful harvests.
The Pahiyas Festival started as a gift-giving ritual by the natives of Lucban to the Franciscan missionaries who were responsible for bringing Catholicism to Quezon in 1583. When Fr. Juan de Placencia took over as the town’s first church administrator, he continued the practice of offering the years harvest to the Spanish friars as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. The ritual was carried on by the next parish priest, Fr. Diego de Oropesa, until it became a tradition for the Lucbanins.
In 1595, the town’s first parish priest, Fr. Miguel de Talavera who was instrumental in the construction of a wooden church in Barrio Kulapi had the farmers bring all their harvests to the church for blessing. The farmers believed that this rite was necessary because they were convinced that failure to observe it could mean drought, famine, and bad luck for the farmers in Lucban.
As the farmers were showered with more blessings and the harvests increased, the wooden church became a place where the annual pahiyas. was held. Later on to keep the tradition alive the townsfolk agreed to display their harvest in front of their homes where the parish priest would come to bless the harvest.
However, to keep the solemnity of the festival, a procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador in whose honor the festival is held, was added to the celebration. The houses along the procession route are the best dressed, decked with the choices fruits and vegetables.
The route is changed every year to give all residents a chance to take part in the celebration. Lucbanins also believe the houses along the procession route are twice blessed during the year.
During the Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival, each household tries to outdo each other in terms of creativity. Farmers show off their best produce of fruits and vegetables such as chayote and rice. There are miniature fruits and vegetables strung together in the most original fashion. The most traditional and certainly the most attractive décor comes in the form of kiping which are strung together in all shapes from arangya (chandelier) to huge flowers. When kiping catches the light of the sun it turns into a veritable cascades of color.
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