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by Marcelina

 

Cultural Traditions - Philippines

Sogod Festival
August 27, 28

Saint Augustine is the patron saint of the village I grew up in. All through the year, the villagers look forward to this celebration, which usually lasts for almost a week. This is also a time for family reunions.  Relatives and loved ones who had been away to work in Manila, or went to school in a far away city (like myself), would be expected to come home for a visit.

The celebration starts with a gathering or a picnic of the villagers during the day. There will be sacrificed pigs or carabao as offerings for a bountiful year and the safe return of the loved ones who frequently are an important source of monetary income for the family. Then the festival dance starts right after dinner and usually lasts until 4:00 in the morning. In the dance, the village’s muse is expected to dance with the “important“ guests from the neighboring villages and towns as part of fundraising for our village’s benefit, or as reassurance of friendships among the neighbors. Lechon (roasted pig) and tuba (coconut wine), pancit (rice noodles) and suman (rice sweets) will be generously offered by the villagers. Dance, songs and riddle contests may come into play on the day of the 28th, but not until after the mass which honors St. Augustine has been heard. The Hermana, the Host (a whole family) of the patron saint will have been preparing all year long for this celebration to make sure that every single person that comes along on this festival will be fed. It was strongly encouraged to those of us who went away to not promise coming home for this festival unless sincere. Saint Augustine WILL NOT be pleased if you break your promise, and nobody knows what the repercussion from that might be. No One Dared!          

Pintados Festival, Tacloban City

June 29

Prior to the Spanish occupation of our province Leyte, body art or tattoos signified courage among other Leytenios. The individual who had the most art on the body would take the leadership in the community and was expected to provide protection to the weak ones, women and children especially. Nowadays, Pintados Festival is celebrated in the capital city, as a cultural revival. The Leytenios get wild as they bath themselves with all sorts of colorful body paints, mimicking the warriors of the past while dancing to the frenetic beat of the drums.

 

Flores de Mayo/ Santacruzan

Celebrated nationwide  - May

 A parade of the loveliest ladies in town depicting the search and discovery of Christ’s Cross by Queen Helena and Constantine.  The Reyna Elena, the queen of the festival and her junior Reynas, are paraded in a float decorated with flowers, vines, and fruits.

In some rural areas, the celebration is held to appreciate the bountiful harvest, therefore a smashing good time is to be had by all. We are talking about a free-for-all, grab-all-you can feast with all the traditional deserts such as bibingka rice cake, sticky suman sweet, etc., that had been provided by the elected mothers/sponsors for the occasion. You may also find displays of colorful woven baskets and hat salakots to remind you of the upcoming hot season.  

  

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