Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Intense Spirituality and Religious Faith of Leganes Through SAAD Festival

photo by JV Perez (PALI)



In Leganes, there are a number of local celebrations and are varied. But without any doubt the most important and characteristic of them is the one celebrated in April alongside its annual town fiesta, the annual SAAD Festival.

There is no better way to get to know Leganesnons than through this attractive festivity where they put on a grand show with fairs, pilgrimages and religious processions, not only for themselves but also for those who come from afar to appreciate and take pleasure in. With unpretentious and ardent affection, Leganesnons associate their celebration of Saad with everything they do in life.

Saad, a Hiligaynon term for “vow”, depicts Leganesnons’ intense spirituality and religious faith. This tourism celebration provides visitors the opportunity to worship with the local Christian community.

Leganes is popularly known as a pilgrimage town to devotees of San Vicente Ferrer, the central figure of the celebration, reputed for his piety, scholarship, and preaching and has touched the lives of many who believed.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

The festival cultural competition is based on a praise and worship presentation combining the town’s folktale. With choreographed steps, the sound of drums and trumpets interspersed with shouts of "San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!," with laughs and cries from performers they dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance.

As the Spanish culture spread across the country, cultural symbols of Spain like for this festival in particular were identified with certain Spanish clothing. Performers would be dressed distinctively and are called for elaborate costumes. Part of their costumes are religious accessories, most common in the festival is the "devotional scapular" or locally known as escapulario. The devotional scapular typically consists of two small, usually rectangular pieces of cloth, wood or laminated paper, a few inches in size which may bear religious images or text. These are joined by two bands of cloth of red color and the wearer places one square on the chest, rests the bands one on each shoulder and lets the second square drop down the back. The mantilla for the females is another most prominent accessory. The mantilla is a kind of scarf of light material, often embroidered with gold and silver and large enough to cover the neck and both shoulders and can also veil the face.

photo b JV Perez (PALI)

This year, the festival for St. Vincent Ferrer goes on for two weeks from March 24 until April 6, 2011 and is a major event in the province. The Garden Show opens on March 24; A Novenario to San Vicente Ferrer will start fro March 27-April 4; Saad Festival Opening Salvo and the Opening of Agro-Industrial and Trade Fair at 2 p.m. and Opening of Food Festival at 7 p.m. on March 28; Sports Activities on March 29; a Grand Civic Parade at 2 p.m. on April 1; 1st SAAD Job Fair at 8 a.m., 2nd SAAD Kite Flying Contest/ Larong Pinoy/ Paupas: Battle of Mini Sounds/ SALT: Airsoft Competition and the LNHS Alumni Dinner for a Cause on April 2; Fun Run/ Boxing at the Park/ Sports Activities/ Sound System Showdown/ SALT: Airsoft Competition/ Mayor Rojas Regional Arnis Cup and Whahaha!, an evening of fun and laughter on April 3; SAAD Festival Cultural and Mardi Gras Parade and Competition at 7 a.m., Procession Mass at 3 p.m. and the Awarding/ Band Concert/ Fireworks at 7 p.m. on April 4; Fiesta Day/ Mass and the Coronation of Fiesta Queen 2011 at 7 p.m. on April 5; Balki Bayan and Poblacion Night on April 6, 2011.

Festivals and fiestas are celebrated almost every month in Iloilo. In fact, there is scarcely a day in the year without a town festival or fiesta, with each having its own patron saint and annual celebration.

Our local festivals are of various types and it varies from town to town. There are a few that are religious in origin and highlight the religious component as the general spirit of celebration.

SAAD Festival is not only concerned with providing amusement for Leganesnons and others and with offering a show of striking costumes and dances: more than anything else their goal is to abide by the rites of their fathers which are so deeply rooted in their consciousness.

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