The Miracle of Obando

Fertility Rites

By: Mary Anne Lopez

Source: Pic-uk.ph

San_Pascual_Baylon_Church,_Obando,_Bulac

Part of starting a family is bearing a child. After marriage, couples normally start to plan on having their own little ones. Some are lucky to eventually make it happen fast while some are still thriving on making one. Several factors affect one’s capability to conceive. It can vary from medical conditions, genetic origin, or maybe it’s not just the right time yet. Many, especially Filipino couples, would prefer to take the third reason. Some things may sound impossible in science, but a mother or a father, whose heart longs for a child of their own, will try everything to make it happen. They will hold on to any chances, even in miracles.

Source: My Pope Ph

The 18th of May is a day for St. Clare of Assisi. Her Spanish name Clara means “good weather after the storm” is the origin of her patronage. This honed the Filipino’s belief in offering chicken eggs to St. Claire to ensure beautiful weather. Also, it has been a practice of the locals to dance while playing the song Santa Clara Pinong Pino to ask help from the saint in preventing or curing sterility in women. St Claire eventually evolved into being the patroness of individuals seeking a spouse and a child, particularly a daughter.

Photo from ABS- CBN News

On the last day of the feast, the 19th of May, the Our Lady of Salambáo is celebrated. According to some locals, the image of the Virgin Mary was found in the sea. Three fishermen caught it on their fishing net. They were supposed to take it to the neighboring town until they realized their boat felt heavy. The more that they moved away from Obando, the heavier it got. It was as if the image was telling them not to take it away from where it should be. When they decided to change directions, immediately, the boat was easy to paddle again. The Virgin Mary was finally taken home to Obando Church. She is now known as the local patroness of fishing and good harvests- generally, for the abundance, she is believed to give the locals.
 

The three feasting days begin with a morning mass. After is a procession of the three saints followed by bands playing local instruments made of bamboo or brass. During this part of the celebration, locals and touring devotees dance the fandango outside the Church. They also sing along to the hymn of Santa Clara Pinung-Pino (Saint Clare, Most Refined).

On the last day of the feast, the 19th of May, the Our Lady of Salambáo is celebrated. According to some locals, the image of the Virgin Mary was found in the sea. Three fishermen caught it on their fishing net. They were supposed to take it to the neighboring town until they realized their boat felt heavy. The more that they moved away from Obando, the heavier it got. It was as if the image was telling them not to take it away from where it should be. When they decided to change directions, immediately, the boat was easy to paddle again. The Virgin Mary was finally taken home to Obando Church. She is now known as the local patroness of fishing and good harvests- generally, for the abundance, she is believed to give the locals.

The three feasting days begin with a morning mass. After is a procession of the three saints followed by bands playing local instruments made of bamboo or brass. During this part of the celebration, locals and touring devotees dance the fandango outside the Church. They also sing along to the hymn of Santa Clara Pinung-Pino (Saint Clare, Most Refined).

A lot of people participate in Obando Fertility Rites, most of whom pray to the saints for a child, a spouse, or abundance and fortune. The joyous dance of devotees in the streets is believed to be a form of prayer, asking for the spirit of life to enter into the wombs of women.

All these activities and sacrifices are all for the family they prayed for. The beautiful and cozy house, the clean and healthy environment, and the bright future they work hard for are all for their coming little miracles to enjoy.

Hearing hopeful stories of these devotees will make you think, how lucky you are for not having to go through all these. What better way to show respect and give honor to these people’s hardships in their journey to parenthood than to make sure your family is living a good and comfortable life?

One way of doing that is by giving your spouse and children a secure and safe home to live in. Wherever you may want to build your family, always prioritize their welfare. Choose a place that will enable them to live to the fullest. Celebrate life and love tremendously!

Photo from Wikimedia

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