Barangay Fiesta

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Barangay Fiesta

***** Location: Philippines
***** Season: Summer (hot season)
***** Category: Humanity


Barangay Fiesta

Barangay fiesta in the city of Manila, where there is an overall ambiance of merriment. In our place, we celebrate the fiesta, or our "fiesta day", every third Sunday of the month of May... so it is going to be this coming Sunday. And usually, the whole month of May is fiesta month. And there is Santacruzan too.

Wilfredo R. Bongcaron, Manila, May 2008

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Many different activities occur in the days or weeks leading up to the fiesta. These include beauty contests, discos, balls, church services, street parades and other entertainment.
© Jim Sibbick


The Santacruzan

In many places in the Philippines, during the month of May, many processions are held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Sometimes, one is reminded only that it is the month of May when one meets such a procession downtown or in a sidestreet of the city. That is the Santa Cruz de Mayo. Many versions of the procession have evolved through the years. And this makes it interesting to find out what it was really like inthe time of our grandfathers.

The Santacruzan was a novena procession commemorating St. Helena's mythical finding of the cross. St. Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great. According to legends, 300 years after the death of Christ, at the age of 75, she went to Calvary to conduct a search for the Cross. After some archeological diggings at the site of the Crucifixion, she unearthed three crosses. She tested each one by making a sick servant lie on all three. The cross where the servant recovered was identified as Christ's. St. Helena's feast day falls on August 8 but the anniversary of the finding of the Cross is on May 3rd, in the Philippines, this celebration took the form of the Mexican Santa Cruz de Mayo.

As another legend puts it, Constantine the Great, facing a battle against the Mighty Roman Emperor, Maxentius in the year 312 A.D. turned despairingly to the new Christian God for help. Constantine cast his eyes heavenwards and saw in the nightsky a glowing sign of the cross with the words "In hoc signia vincit", meaning "By this sign thou shalt conquer". He adopted the Cross as his battle insignia with the words and forthwith went to vanquish the Roman Army and entered Rome a victor, pledging his faith in Christianity.

Read more HERE
© By Eileen S. Guerero

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Worldwide use

Things found on the way


fiesta day –
the display of street bands
coaxing for street dance

ropes block
the street entrance -
fiesta scenes commence

aiming for the flag
boys play the "palo sebo" -
strained necks all agog

"Palo sebo" is a game during fiesta where contestants take turn in climbing the top of a greased bamboo pole. The objective is to get the red flag at the top of the pole. The taker wins a fun prize.

greasy coconut -
boys hustle and jostle
prize at the end line

menfolks prepare -
the piglet is let loose
for the keeper

I stand for my turn
to take a solid crack -
pot is evasive

a piece of clay pot
hit me on the face
after the strike

sugar apple
melts in the mouth
anguish forgotten

© Wilfredo R. Bongcaron, 2008
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Related words

Festivals in Japan



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barangay is grassroot level locality. Aside from fiesta, there is also a 'bagsakan' or little market where harvests are sold at a cheaper price.