#64 Pahiyas

Colorful rice wafers are turned into wall and house decorations during the Pahiyas

 

The Pahiyas Festival is a colorful annual event associated with the municipality of Lucban in Quezon Province (Northern Luzon). The feast is celebrated every 15th of May by the people of Lucban, Quezon in honor of their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador.

A farmers’ thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, the people of Lucban put out a grand display of colorful rice wafers (called kiping), vegetables, fruits and handicrafts adorning every house and commercial building in the town. Pahiyas comes from the Filipino hiyas (jewel) and the pronoun “pa” to  mean “precious offering.”

The colorful rice wafers or kiping are thin wafers made from rice doug,  arranged into two or three layers in chandelier shapes called aranya. The locals use different kinds of leaves to add flavor and color to the kiping. They also produce varieties of tastes and textures by using different ingredients such as kabal, coffee, talisay (umbrella tree), cocoa, and banaba leaves.

The annual feast dates back to the 16th century based on the local legend that San Isidro Labrador magically plowed the field whenever he went out of the church. Most probably the story which could have originated from Mexico was passed on by the Spaniards to their Filipino Catholic converts during the colonial period.  Since then the Pahiyas Festival has turned into an annual event for both locals and visitors of Quezon Province with a paper mache procession of the saint as the highlight of the event.

Mabuhay ang Pahiyas!

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Filed under Arts and Culture, Traditions

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