Saturday, March 30, 2013

Leganes Celebrates 9th SAAD Festival

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

A week after Easter, the people of Leganes pays homage to their patron saint, San Vicente Ferrer--- often pictured with wings, is a Valencian Dominican friar, who gained acclaim as a missionary and a logician and was honored as a saint of the Catholic Church. The annual celebration of Saad, one of Iloilo’s most special and important religious festivals, is a big issue where people go out of their way to make a special effort to celebrate it. It is an occasion for the Leganesnon culture to really shine in this appropriately sunny town.

Saad Festival in Leganes runs March 19 to April 5, 2013. The municipal streets are decked out with flags and streamers, entertainment nightly in the plaza and the entire population out celebrating their local fiesta. With various rural activities, it is definitely worth checking out. April 1 (Monday) opens with a Grand Civic Parade and a Magical Concerto; April 2 (Tuesday) is for the Sound Showdown and the annual Miss Saad Festival Beauty Pageant; April 3 (Wednesday) Sports Activities and the Battle of Sounds; April 4 (Thursday) is for the Saad Festival Proper with a Sinadsad Dance Parade at 8 a.m., Eucharistic Celebration at 4 p.m., Procession at 5 p.m., the Saad Festival Cultural Dance Competition at 6 p.m., and the Awards Night and Street Party and Fireworks Display at 8 p.m.; April 5 (Friday) caps with Masses for St. Vincent Ferrer, Fiesta Day and the Coronation of Fiesta Queen 2013.
photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
Leganes would not be Leganes without its famous and iconic church. It is a popular pilgrimage honoring Saint Vincent Ferrer. On the saint's feast day, it is customary to visit the church for the so-called "Palapak." This is done by gently pressing the base of a small image of San Vicente Ferrer on the head of the devotee. A huge crowd gathers to line up for the “palapak”, to light candles, offer prayers and join the Eucharist in honor of the miraculous St. Vincent Ferrer. It is believed that the image can heal various illnesses and prevent calamities. Palapak is aimed at conserving and promoting age-old Leganes traditions, it is a great opportunity to get your fill of this time-honored activity.
photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
The much-anticipated Saad Festival Groups has groups dress up in traditional Filipino costumes and parade the streets while carrying sculptures and images of the St. Vincent Ferrer. The dance competition is a worship dance accompanied by their Saad music composed mainly of Hiligaynon folk songs. Their praise dance is upbeat and faster in tempo. The choreography would include movements that convey specific symbols of worship such as a cross, and specific acts of worship such as kneeling. Clapping, rocking of the body, and waving of the hands are also typical movements. They are prayers through movement evoking an adoration of their patron saint within the hearts of an audience.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Blending Catholic traditions in their performances, the Saad festival dance tradition has produced an understanding of the religious image not so much as an object of detached contemplation or a reference to a religious symbol but rather as an energized element which physically shapes the relationship and exchange between the material and the spiritual world.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
Saad Festival is a time of special importance. It is a day where the people of Leganes commemorate the preaching of St. Vincent Ferrer who has described the path towards salvation, eternal peace and satisfaction. They fulfill the purpose of festival remembrance by maintaining and passing on, one generation to the next, the emotions of a heritage carried forward into the present and never lost. They nurture the sense of cohesiveness that has sustained the community throughout their long and often heartrending history.

To get to Leganes, one can take a 20-minuterjeepney ride from Jaro Plaza. For more information, please contact, Mr. Jerry Anas - Municipal Tourism Officer at 09127721033.

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