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Obando’s fertility fiesta honors 3 patron saints

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By Christina Hermoso

Hundreds of devotees consisting of childless couples, individuals looking for a life partner, farmers, and fishermen as well as tourists, are expected to travel all the way to Obando, Bulacan starting Thursday, May 17, until May 19, for the three-day “Kasilonawan” Festival, more popularly known as Obando’s Fertility Fiesta.

Hundreds of devotees dance and pray for children in an annual fertility procession in San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church Obando Town, Bulacan province on May 19, 2015. (KJ ROSALES | MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Hundreds of devotees dance and pray for children in an annual fertility procession in San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church Obando Town, Bulacan province on May 19, 2015. (KJ ROSALES | MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The popular and much-anticipated annual festival is held in honor of the town’s three patron saints: San Pascual Baylon, whose feast will be observed Thursday, Our Lady of Salambao,and Santa Clara of Assisi, for whom the much-awaited “pandanggo” dance procession by childless couples to the tune of  “Santa Clarang pinong-pino,” is dedicated.

The dance procession will be held for three days, from May 17 to 19, at around 8 a.m. following the daily feast masses starting at the town center in Barangay Pag-Asa and ending at the Obando Church, where dancing is continued inside the parish. Masses are traditionally held by the hour the whole day.

San Pascual is believed to intercede for singles to find their ideal mate, while Our Lady of Salambao is venerated as the patron of farmers and fishermen. Sta. Clara, whose feast day falls on Aug. 11, is venerated as the patron saint of childless couples and good weather. She is believed to intercede for childless couples to be granted the gift of fertility. Participation in the dance procession is believed to invite the spirit of life into the womb. Another old tradition is the offering of eggs before her image to pray for fair weather.

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