Thursday, January 5, 2017

Saad Festival: Marking an Important Religious Event in the Lives of Leganesnons

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Leganes, Iloilo, celebrates the festivity of St. Vincent Ferrer, the town’s patron saint with the annual Saad Festival celebrated this year on January 24 - 31, 2017. The celebration is one of the most-anticipated folk religious festivals in Iloilo. Parades and parties erupt in the area in his honour. It sees people near and far participating and celebrating.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Saad or ‘Vow,’ is one of the major festivals in Iloilo. It is a mixture of Catholic and ancient local influences. Various religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration marks the festivity adding colour and integrity to the municipality. The festival reinforces the presence of God in the life of every Leganesnons, their families and the community as a whole.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

St. Vincent Ferrer is the most beloved religious icon in Leganes. He is known as the Church’s greatest source of miracles and one of the most influential politicians, theologians, intellectuals and philosophers of his time. He is popularly known as the “Angel of Healing” because of his gift to cure the sick. Believers had recourse to him in every difficulty. He is also the patron saint of fishermen and builders.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The party environment raises everyone's spirits as it is one occasion and opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones.  The Opening Salvo will be on scheduled January 24 (Tuesday); Miss Saad Pageant on January 27 (Friday); Sinadsad Dance Parade on January 30 (Saturday); Saad Cultural Presentation on a Sunday, January 31st.

The highlight of the festival is the cultural dance presentation which imbues a unique vibrancy. The presentations are dance-dramas likely to show suffering sin or shame other than worship. Folk dance steps are incorporated into the regular worship steps expressing joy in the dance and using a lot of additional arm movements. Traditionally, the arms are often raised up toward the sky, or in front of the body as if reaching out to God. The arms can also be held out to the sides to symbolize Christ, surrender to God, or openness to healing and restoration.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The Palapak or the act of pressing the image of St. Vincent Ferrer on the head of a devotee is a special feature of the dance choreography. Palapak is a popular practice amongst many faithful who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities hoping that a miracle might happen through their patron’s intercession. It has been said that various miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Much of the music has a definite local flavour using a medley of old Hiligaynon favorites. Every performances ends with shouts of "San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!," with a dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Now on its 13th year, Saad as a festival was previously celebrated every April in commemoration of his death anniversary. It was in 2015 that the month of January his birth month became the permanent town’s festival date.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The Fourth Class municipality of Leganes is about 11 kilometers away or a 30-minute drive from Iloilo City. It is one of the 19 coastal towns of the province and the only coastal municipality that shares a common border with the city. The town is adjacent to Pavia in the southeast; in the west by Sta. Barbara; and in the north by Zarraga. To get there, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City. For more information, please call the Municipal Tourism Officer- Mr. Jerry Anas at (033) 3296622 or at 09127721033.





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