Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival history
Pahiyas Festival is one of the most famous celebrations in Quezon Province. Celebrated every May 15, the festivities are held in honor of San Isidro Labrador, or Saint Isidore the Laborer, the town’s patron saint. It was originally celebrated for the good harvest during the year, since Saint Isidore is the patron saint of famers as well. A vivacious celebration, it is characterized by colorful, decorated houses and window sills during the festivities.
The festival’s integral activity is the decoration of the houses with kiping, rice cakes colorfully painted and arranged like a leaf. It could actually be eaten. These colorful decorations are hung by windows, along with other decorations. It has become a friendly competition between houses, as the house hosting the best-looking decorations will have a prize. There are other decorations used, such as farm produce, handicraft products, and other local products.
There is a procession of the patron saint around the streets, and for the most part the decorated houses are usually the ones on the route of the patron saint’s procession. This symbolizes the welcoming of the patron saint. It is said that the saint blesses anyone whose house is in the route of the procession.
There are a lot of other activities as well. There is an agro-industrial fair which showcases the town’s native products, farm produce, as well as the small-scale industries present in the area. Lucban’s longganisa, broas, as well as buntal hats are exhibited and showcased in the town fair.
The end of the festival is celebrated with the Kalas, in which children tear down the decorations and run away as the homeowners go after them (in a festive way).
Although Pahiyas is festive and full of joy and music, it is a religious celebration, thanking the patron saint for the good harvest (and year) as well as welcoming blessings for the coming days.