The Obando Fertility Dance is a festival where couples who hope to be blessed by children perform street dances in a long procession. The Fertility Dance of Obando is both a festival and a prayerful appeal for devotees.
Obando has hosted this festival since pre-Spanish times. The festival is also mentioned by the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal, in one of his epic novels Noli Me Tangere. Obando, a small town in Bulacan, has held to this age-old tradition of Fertility Dances to the present day and has attracted a lot of tourists the world round.
The Fertility Dance of Obando has been part of tradition even before the Spanish conquest of the Philippines. The month of May has always been the season for the Fertility Dance. Initially, the native childless couples dance in front of idols to request that they would soon have children.
When the Spanish took over, they convinced the natives that they can keep the Fertility Dance but would instead dance in front of images of saints instead of idols.
Nowadays, the Fertility Dance is celebrated in Obando in honor of Santa Clara, San Pascual de Baylon, and Nuestra Señora de Salambao. The prayers are offered to these three saints for the childless, for religious virtue, and a bountiful catch since fishing is the main industry of Obando, Bulacan.
The Fertility Dance most of the time is offered for Santa Clara, patron saint of the childless. Others dance to the saint in hope to find a mate. Single men and single women often pariticipate in the Fertility Dance festival on separate dates since the festivities usually last three days long.
Parents who take part in the Fertility Dance do it to give thanks to their patron saint to give thanks. The fishermen and farmers of the locality of Obando participate in the Fertility Dance to pray for a good catch and a good harvest. Most of the townsfolk participate in the street dancing and merry making during the three-day long Fertility Dance.
Veterans and so-called experts of the Fertility Dance insist that the dance be performed with gyrating hips in time with the music and must be done with the belief of prayers being answered. You’ll be amazed at the huge number of childless couples, thankful parents, and grateful fishermen clad in colorful costumes. One proof the locals would claim would be the population growth as evidence of the efficacy of the said Fertility Dance.
Whether it works or not, the Fertility Dance is a timeless tradition that bids a prayer of request or thanks and draws in a lot of curious visitors from all over the country. Whether you believe it or not, take part of the festivity and enjoy both a solemn and a joyful celebration of life.