Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Bustos, the barangay* where I grew up celebrates the feast day of Sta. Monica, patron of married women, every first Sunday of May. So, today, I want to write about Fiestas, a Filipino tradition.
Almost all barangay in Philippines celebrates fiesta every year in honor of saints and to celebrate events in the life of Jesus and Mama Mary.
There are different traditions to celebrate fiesta depending on the patron saint. For instance, Plaridel, Bulacan, one of our neighboring towns have an annual parade of festively adorned carabaos in honor of San Isidro de Labrador. The farmers lead the carabaos from the streets to the churches and make them kneel down to pay homage to the saint.
In Bustos, Bulacan, our fiesta is not as dramatic as Pulilan’s. 😉 We start the festivities by attending Mass at the bisita (local chapel) on Saturday evening. And then, there is a procession of images of Sta. Monica and San Agustin. Even though it is Sta. Monica’s feast day, the image of his son, San Agustin is always in front and his mother will follow behind him. I wonder if this is symbolic to the life of Sta. Monica. The procession starts from the bisita. They go around the barangay followed by patrons carrying candles walking behind the cart, old (sometimes, very old) women waltzing all the way, and a brass band with young girls as majorettes. Everyone goes out their gates to watch the procession and pray. Finally, the procession ends at the chapel again.
Nearby the chapel, there is a perya (fair) where lots of food, games, rides are for everyone to enjoy. Kids love this very much.
The following day, the brass band walks around the barangay streets playing lively music. They streets are decorated with alakos (I don’t know the translation; picture below). The families living in the barangay host a festive lunch or dinner for relatives and friends. At night, all members of the family help keep the food, table and chairs, and clean up. It is always a tiring, but happy fiesta!
Alakos are those colorful decorations on the church side. In our barangay, we usually have thin silver-colored strips…the shadows will be all over the roads during day time. It’s beautiful. =)
(Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elmer_ng_pateros/377267355/)
Learn more about Sta. Monica’s life here > http://www.family-prayer.org/saint-monica.html .
Kristine G. Veneracion
P.S. *barangay (no English translation) is the smaller unit of towns. Towns will have several barangays within its municipality.
P.S. Please like and/or comment if you also love fiesta celebrations. Thank you and God bless you! c”,)k