History of Paray Festival in Irosin, Sorsogon

PARAY FESTIVAL IROSIN SORSOGON
Me in Barangay Carriedo, Irosin 

Irosin Paray Festival


I am a proud Irosinian by heart and blood. Even though I now call Manila as my home for the last 15 years, I will never forget Irosin as my dear hometown. One of my fond memories every fiesta celebration way, way back is to celebrate the Paray Festival in Irosin and the commemoration of Saint Michael the Archangel, our town's beloved patron saint every last week of September. 

Irosin is dubbed as the rice granary of Sorsogon province. As a landlocked municipality, I spent my childhood visiting the rice fields of my grandparents and my dear mother who is turning 60 in a few months from now is spending most of her senior years learning the art of planting rice from a small lot she inherited from her parents.  With a backdrop of Bulusan volcano and along the national highway in Tulay, Bagsangan watching the golden sunset every afternoon there is a magical experience. 

Now that I am far away from home - missing my family and all that I found myself googling anything about the treasures of Irosin. From its history to what  it is today, I realized it is time that it should shine in its own way. We have no beach but we have rice fields that are slowly fading away since farming is NO LONGER the millennials of today would like to pursue. I When I reach my senior years, I also look forward do rice planting.


BAGSANGAN IROSIN SORSOGON
A hill of rice brans in Barangay Bagsangan, Irosin



The celebration of the Irosin Fiesta is already next week so I googled a bit to get updated of what's happening but I am surprised not much has been written. I know from time to time, students and Irosanons who are already based somewhere would be somehow interested to look back about the beginnings of our town's most awaited events.  

I posted a short message via Facebook about where to find this information and one Samaritan who is a schoolmate of mine came to the rescue. Her name is Shiela Marie Gestole Perez who is working  in the local office of Irosin. She gave me this document below which she said is from the archives of LGU Irosin. Thus, I would like to credit the local government of Irosin as the official source of this information.  


irosin paray festival
Credit to my sister Juliet

History of Irosin's Paray Festival

Paray Festival was first introduced in 2001 under the administration of the former Mayor Lilia Gonzales. The word paray” is an Irosinian variation for the Bicol “paroy” or the tagalog “palay” which means rice grains. Paray Festival is thus celebrated for its dual symbolism: It aptly depicts the municipality of irosin as the rice granary of the province of Sorsogon and is at the same time a celebration for bountiful harvest which would normally commence in the last week of September, coinciding with the celebration of the patronal feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the local parish church. 


 irosin fiesta paray festival sorsogon
Credit to my sister Juliet


The Festival centers on three themes: 

1. Harvest Festival
September, the month of Paray Festival, is the start of the rice harvest for the wet planting season. As the primary food crop of the municipality, rice plays a central role in the lives of Irosinians. The municipality is in fact considered as the rice granary of the province of Sorsogon and the municipality’s rice production surpasses its rice requirement and surplus production is exported to its neighboring towns and provinces. The harvest Festival therefore reaffirms the productivity of Irosin’s agricultural lands in providing sustenance to many rice farming households. Additionally, the festivities also brings increased economic activity in the locality and hence, abundance. 

2. Viva San Miguel Street Dancing  
In Christian tradition, St. Michael the Archangel symbolizes power of the good over evil. This is a recurring theme in Paray Festival activities. In the war between the good ad the evil, St. Michael the Archangel is heralded as a great warrior who fought against Satan, his nemesis, whom he victoriously sent to hell. The festival therefore is a celebration of the triumph of the good over evil and is a continuing reminder for Irosinians to always follow the good and renounce the evil. St. Michael’s victory is celebrated and his continued Intercession and protection from evil is earnestly prayed for. 

3. Cultural and Sports
The month-long Paray Festival also serves as venue for the promotion of local heritage and culture and sports development. Cultural events that showcase local talents, sports and recreational activities are in Integrated into the festival. As a corollary of these three thees, paray Festival engages and promotes multi-sectoral participation in all its activities. Different organizations, schools, barangays, and sectors of the municipality are involved and committed from the initial planning down to the implementations of minutes details of the festival activities. Hence, Paray Festival serves as the reaffirmation of the unity of Irosinians as a community and at the same time, as a relevant renewal of their commitment to the common good.



Irosin Paray Fiesta Sorsogon
Credit to my sister Juliet



To read my old posts about Irosin, please see below:
TRAVEL GUIDE TO IROSIN ECO ZOO PARK IN IROSIN, SORSOGON
TRAVEL GUIDE TO IROSIN LAKE OR DANAO IN PATAG, IROSIN, SORSOGON
THE HISTORY OF IROSIN IN SORSOGON PROVINCE, MY HOMETOWN 


Note: This blog post was written for the purpose of promoting Irosin in the province of Sorsogon. If you have great photos of previous Paray Festival (especially the street dance competition) and would like to share on this page, I will be happy to post it. For any feedbacks or anything you'd like to add to make this article helpful to others, please do not hesitate to send me a message. My email address is mariaronab@gmail.com.

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