Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pahiyas: Feast of San Isidro Labrador

May is a month of fiesta in the Philippines and mostly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Countless Flores de Mayo are being held in various barrios throughout the country where flowers are being offered by children and Santacruzan are for young ladies who vie for the Reyna Elena status.

But the month of May is also about celebrating the feast of their patron saints. To all of us, May 15 is just an ordinary summer fiesta but to many religious believers, its more than a celebration for it comemmorates the feast of San Isidro Labrador, the saint of the farmers.

Today, He is considered as the number one choice as Patron Saint of Churches in the Philippines not because of any religious congregation established in his honor but he was chosen based on the number of terms the churches honoring him as patron saint.

As a matter of fact, there are around 151 parishes recorded with San Isidro Labrador as their patron saints thoughout the archdioceses in the country and there are plans to make the San Isidro Parish Church in Pasay to be the center of San Isidro devotion in the Philippines.

One of the successful fiestas that became popular in the country to his honor is the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon. Every 15th day of May, local residents transformed their humble homes into a virtual farm house fully-decorated with colored farm products such as "kipping" that was became so popular that tourist flock to this small town of Quezon.

It transformed the town of Lucban to be the center of fiesta in the southern Tagalog region.
Grand Santacruzan and colorful parade of fresh-harvest decorated floats traverse the main street and end to the church to pay its homage to its patron saint.

San Isidro's life is very relevant today. He is a married layman, saint of the common "tao" or farmers, laborers and the poor, representing the large majority of people in our country. Rice is our staple food and farming are the commonly souce of living in the remote provinces, So, it is not impossible that most parish that was build around the Philippines are choosing him as their patron saint.

San Isidro was born in Madrid, Spain in 1070 who worked as a farmer to a rich landlord to help support his family. He was raised with great religious belief and fear to God. At present, he is also the patron saint of Madrid.

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