Saad Festival: A joyful celebration of faith

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

LEGANES, Iloilo celebrates the feast of St. Vincent Ferrer every January 25 with immense passion, enthusiasm, and fun-filled activities.

The feast day holds religious importance for Christians and is celebrated with great fervor through Saad

Saad, a Hiligaynon word for a “solemn vow,” attracts the faithful to the festivity mass. Devotees come from various points of the province and even outside Iloilo. They flood the church to offer prayers and seek solutions to their problems.

After the Mass, the faithful would join the Palapak, a ritual where devotees line up and have their heads or ailing body parts to be stepped on (lapak) by an image of St. Vincent Ferrer. From then on, the ritual has become a major event in the Catholic church calendar.

Also, Leganesnons express their devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer through music and dance with the much-anticipated competition on Jan 25 at 5 p.m. They use the Saad Dance-Drama presentation to represent their beliefs in honor of the “Angel of Healing,” St. Vincent Ferrer.

Saad dance combines rectilinear and circular movements which may also include hopping, jumping, and hand movements. Hand movements are widely used in many liturgical actions of the dance such as the touching of holy objects and their accompanying prayers and blessings.

The raising of hands in prayer, kneeling as an expression of humility, and the bow as an intimated genuflection generally indicates respect. The gesture of blessing may imitate a symbolic form, such as that of the Holy Cross.

Symbolism plays a big role in the dance presentation, and Leganesnons chose to reflect that symbolism through their various dance routines and presentations. The Palapak is also re-enacted into the dance choreography.

Much of the music has a definite local flavor, using a medley of old Hiligaynon favorites where dancers in traditional Filipino costumes adorned with scapulars dance with joy to praise their patron and shout of “San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!”

Leganes is a fourth class municipality in the second congressional district of Iloilo. It borders the City of Iloilo in the south; Pavia in the southeast; Santa Barbara in the west and, Zarraga in the north.

Approximately 11 kilometers, or a 30-minute drive north of the city, it is politically sub-divided into 18 coastal and agricultural barangays over a land area of 3, 216 hectares.

To get to Leganes, visitors can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza. For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Jerry Anas at (033) 3296622 local 114 or send an email to lgu_leganes@yahoo.com.ph and anas.jerry@yahoo.com.ph

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