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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in the Philippines Series at FilipinoPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Filipino holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 13, Pahiyas Festival. In Filipino, it’s called Pahiyas Festival.
The Pahiyas Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth of May every year in the Town of Lucban, Quezon. This celebration is held in order to express gratitude to the patron saint of farmers, Saint Isidore the Laborer, for a year of bountiful harvest, which in Filipino is ani.
During this festival, the people of Lucban adorn their homes with decorations made of fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, and kiping, or rice wafers. After the festival, the locals usually share these decorative fruits and vegetables amongst themselves.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know what words "pahiyas" is derived from?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
As you may have noticed already, many of the celebrations of the Filipinos have roots in pagan rituals, imbibing a Christian significance over time. The Pahiyas Festival is said to have begun as a simple ritual for thanksgiving to the idols, or in Filipino anito, for a bountiful harvest. However, when Catholicism spread throughout the Philippines, this recipient of this festival's graces became the patron saint of farmers, Saint Isidore the Laborer. According to legend, while Saint Isidore the Laborer was praying, a white carabao and an angel helped to plow his fields.
Whenever the Pahiyas Festival is mentioned, the first word that comes to the mind of Filipinos is kiping, which is a baked rice wafer made from ground rice and shaped using different leaves, brightly colored with yellow, fuchsia, red, and green. It is said that this dish was invented during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon era. The origin of this dish is described in folklore surrounding a cook returning to Lucban who wanted to eat tacos, but because he could not find the right ingredients, he experimented and came up with kiping.
The last segment of this festival is the procession of the image of Saint Isidore the Laborer. All houses along the course of the procession are decorated with their season’s harvest. Also included is the image of the patron saint's wife Saint Mary of the Head. There are also elaborate carriages and paper-mache effigies of the two saints.
As the festival draws to a close, it has been customary to hold large feasts together with guests, tourists, and all the townspeople, in which different dishes are prepared, such as pancit habhab, Lucban longganisa, and of course, grilled kiping.
The house with the most beautiful and most creative decorations is honored, with the winner receiving a bountiful cash prize, or papremyo!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what words "pahiyas" is derived from?
It comes from two Filipino words—"hiyas" meaning precious stone, such as those seen in jewelry, and "pahiyas” meaning offering. Therefore, we can say that the Pahiyas Festival is an offering of the harvest’s gems.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have a festival like the Pahiyas Festival in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at FilipinoPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!