Yet again the fiesta in Carcar came to a close with another emphasis on the life of its patroness St. Catherine of Alexandria. The Festival of Lights is not just a mere spectacle of colorful gaiety but more importantly a way to revive the long forgotten devotion to the virgin-martyr. Four carrozas depicting major events in her life, her journey to sainthood, were paraded down passing through a street aptly named after her.
At the first sound of the drum people started to gather at the Balay na Tisa where the processional image of the saint dating back to the Spanish times is kept. The ceremony is reminiscent of dapit which I witness in my trip to Malolos, Bulacan for the Sto. Niño festival early this year. In dapit, different images of the Holy Child borne on carrozas decorated or not, are brought to the church late in the afternoon for a short procession around the town. The procession is first of the three, the remaining two happens the following day, always falling on the fourth Sunday of January. One in the morning and the grand procession in the evening.
The Festival of Lights is never complete without the Kabkaban dance. Fresh from their win from the previous days Kabkaban Festival, the Carcar Central Highschool dancers lent their talent by igniting the jovial mood of the people gathered around as the procession makes its way to the church for the mass.
A sonorous sound echoes this time coming from the church belfry signaled the end of the mass. Then festal music is played by the band as the carrozas went down the hill. The dancers now have changed to their hats mounted with lamps, from a distance one would see them meander through the narrow streets of the plaza.
The last stretch of the procession is a few hundred meters from the house. And then the last set of sounds from the belfry can be heard from a distance. The carroza finally reached its destination. A few minutes more it started its descent together with the untiring dancers accompanied the the joyous Kabkaban beat. They make their final dance before everyone.
Until the next fiesta!