Monday, May 13, 2013

May 14 Holidays and Traditions | Carabao Festival and Paraguay Independence Day

May 14 day is marked by two important holidays/ traditions:  Carabao Festival and Paraguay Independence Day.

Carabao Festival

A feast in honor of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isidore the
Farmer), the patron saint of Filipino farmers, held in Pulilan,
Bulacan province, the Philippines.

The feast also honors the carabao, or water buffalo, the universal beast of burden of
the Philippines. Farmers scrub their carabao, then decorate
them with flowers to parade with the image of San Isidro.
A carabao race is held, and at the finish line, the animals
kneel while the parish priest blesses them.

The festival isalso marked by exploding firecrackers and the performance
of the Bamboo Dance, where dancers represent the tinikling
bird, a menace to the rice crop. Among the games played is
palo sebo—climbing a greased pole to get the prize at the top.

Paraguay Independence Day

Paraguayans set aside two days to celebrate their independence
from Spain, which they won on May 14, 1811, after a
bloodless revolution led by Dr. Jose´ Gaspar Rodríguez
Francia (1766-1840). Dr. Francia was also instrumental in the
design of Paraguay’s flag, which is the only national flag in
the world that is different on both sides.

The most elaborate Independence Day parade is in the capital,
Asuncio´ n. People may wear traditional clothes as they
stroll down the streets: for the men, fancy shirts, broadbrimmed
straw hats, ponchos, a faja (sash) around the waist,
and full trousers known as bombachas; for the women, blouses
with lace inserts and brightly colored embroidery, full skirts
with many layers of petticoats underneath, and a rebozo or
shawl similar to the Spanish mantilla.

Sopa Paraguay, a traditional
Independence Day dish, is served on this day because
it is only on special occasions that the poor can afford to buy
the eggs and cheese that go into the soup.

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