The St. Louis Bishop Parish of Lucban is getting ready for the celebration of the Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival. Kudos to Rev. Fr. Noel Cabungcal, its present parish priest for the beautiful altar decoration showcasing the colors of the Pahiyas through the “kiping”, the leaf-shaped rice wafers that dot Lucban every year for the feast of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers.

The Pahiyas is basically a Catholic tradition originally known as the Feast of San Isidro to which in his honor the celebration is held, in thanksgiving to God for the bountiful harvest. In the past, offerings of fruits and vegetables were brought to church and blessed by the priest. When the population grew and the church can not accommodate the multitude of Lucbanins, these were decided to be displayed in front of houses. The image of San Isidro was then paraded around town while the priest blessed the houses and offerings.

Lucbanins in the early 1950s used to decorate houses on 2 ocassions, the first one during the local tradition of “Pag-akyat sa Kalbaryo” on May 3 and the other during the feast of San Isidro every May 15. As time passes, many changes were made that only during the San Isidro festival that the houses were decorated, this time with the addition of the kiping. Beginning in the middle of the 1970s, prizes were given to households with the best and colorful “payas”, the local term for decoration from which the term “Pahiyas” was derived. Every year, the route of the procession changes to give way to other households a chance to join the contest.

Photo credit: Fr. Noel Cabungcal

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