Pahiyas Festival: A Celebration of Thanksgiving

May is the season for festivals in the Philippines. One of the most extravagant festival celebrated in the country is the Pahiyas Festival. Province of Quezon hosts this festival on the 15th of May. The celebration of the Pahiyas Festival has been going on since the 16th century. It is a way for the local folk to give thanks to a bountiful harvest.

The Province of Quezon is the second largest province of the Southern Tagalog region and is host to lavish Pahiyas Festival. The preparation for the festival takes quite some time and the actual Pahiyas Festival is held for only a short time.

During the Pahiyas Festival the small towns of the Province of Quezon in the Philippines evolves from sleepy small villages into exquisitely adorned houses. The Pahiyas Festival is commemorated in honor of their patron saint San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers.

Legend says that San Isidro Labrador magically plowed fields whenever he went to church. Spain passed on this legend to the Philippines from Mexico during the country’s colonization. Since then, the Pahiyas Festival has been a source of excitement for the locals and visitors to the Quezon Province.

One of the highlights of the Pahiyas Festival in the Philippines is the colorful decoration on the houses. These are made of food. During the Pahiyas Festival, the houses of the local townspeople will be adorned in fruit, vegetables and the famous kipings. The kiping is a wafer that’s shaped into a leaf. It is made of dried rice and dyed in brilliant colors.

The locals use different leaves to add flavor and color to the kiping. The locals to produce a variety of tastes and textures using Kabal, coffe, talisay (umbrella tree), cocoa, and banaba leaves. The locals boast that the procedure of making the kiping is a big secret among the people of Quezon and only a chosen few are entrusted with the secret recipe.

During the Pahiyas Festival, people display their harvest in front of their homes for the parish priest to bless as the procession passes their homes.

A competition is usually held during the Pahiyas Festival. Families would compete for the title of best-decorated house. After the competition is over and the awards are handed over, the winning house’s decorations will be thrown away to the huge flock of people as free treats.

Try the pancit habhab when you’re at the Pahiyas Festival. Enjoy the chance to try noodles straight from banana leaves without using forks or chopsticks. The delicious taste of the noodle blends well with the famed Longganisang Lucban (a local sausage of Quezon).

The Pahiyas Festival is a time of joyous merriment for the people of Quezon. You’ll never walk away from the Pahiyas Festival with an empty stomach. It is a mouthful of a welcome to how the people of the Philippines welcome their guests. Just watch the calories while you’re at it.

5 Comments

  1. Francis Charles Nanawa

    There has been many misconception about the Pahiyas Festival which I would like to point out and correct. The Pahiyas Festival is only celebrated in the town of Lucban, Quezon province, NOT in the whole province. Other towns in the province celebrate different kinds of festivals but all are held on the same day.

    San Isidro is not the patron saint of the town of Lucban. St Louis Bishop of Tolousse does. San Isidro is only honored during the Pahiyas Festival. The town of Lucban celebrates the real town fiesta on August 19 honoring St. Louis Bishop, celebration of which is less grandiose than the Pahiyas.

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