This isn’t a rally or a riot. This is the annual Feast of Saint Isidore the Laborer.
Philippines is well known for its regional festivals. Like the rest of the Philippine festivals, this event commemorates a life of a saint. Saint Isidore the Laborer is the patron of farmers and rural communities. He was known for his love of the poor. There are accounts of St. Isidore’s supplying them miraculously with food. Saint Isidore died May 15, 1130 and was declared a saint in 1622.
Feast of Saint Isidore is like celebrating Thanksgiving. Households prepare a portion of their year’s blessing to offer to Saint Isidore. Traditionally, members of the community cook rice cake (Suman) as offering. As years go by it has evolved. Nowadays, sandals, shirts, towels, rice or money are some of the things that they offer.
At around 2PM numerous men gathers at the Chapel of St. James (Santiago). Slowly they parade through the town, stopping at the houses and plead to the owners. The families happily throw their offerings from their balconies. The men will try to catch the blessings with all their might.
It is an spectacular experience growing up with this tradition. I always look forward to this day. Besides the fact that it feels great to toss things off of our balcony. 🙂 It feels better to be able to give back to the community.