Here in Davao City, it is Festival Time! It’s Kadayawan Festival right now. Kadayawan is one of two major Festivals in Davao City, the other being Araw ng Dabaw, which is held in March.
Festivals are a very important part of Filipino life. Every town, city, even every Barangay has it’s own festival, and people here will take every chance they get to celebrate in a festival! Tomorrow is even a holiday in Davao, with many businesses being closed, certainly all the Government offices are closed down so that the employees can celebrate Kadayawan.
What is Kadayawan? Well, it’s a festival celebrating a fruitful harvest. At this time of year, many fruits are at their peak here in Davao. The King of Fruits, Durian (one of Davao’s favorites) is at it’s best starting now, through October. As you drive around Davao you will see little Durian Stands set up all over town around this time of year! They also have “Durian Gardens” where you can go, choose a Durian fruit and sit down to enjoy it right there! One thing I love at this time of year in Davao is that as you pass by one of the larger Durian Stands around town, the fragrance really permeates that air all around you! For me, it’s a heavenly aroma that I find very pleasing. Others think that it stinks. For me, I used to dislike the smell, but I really enjoy it now, since I’ve become accustomed to it.
In addition to the eating of Durian and other fruits, there are lots of events going on around Davao over about a two week period of Kadayawan. There are contests, parades, street dancing, all kinds of parties and such. Indeed, it is a very festive occasion. For many people, particularly those who are poor and have little to look forward to in life, the time when there is a major festival is certainly one of the highlights of their life. It’s not just a day or two of fun, it is a lifestyle that they live throughout the year. Why do you think the town basically shuts down for Kadayawan? Because this is such a major part of these people’s lives that to expect them to work would be unheard of!
Want to imagine better what Kadayawan or other major festivals are like in the Philippines? Imagine the revelry of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or Rio de Janero, and put that into every political unit in the Philippines at one time of year or another! Now you have got an idea!
Happy Kadayawan to all Dabawenyos! Madayaw!