PARADA NG LECHON
(Feast of St. John The Baptist)
The world-famous “Parada ng Lechon” originated in the old thanksgiving custom of the working class in what used to be the poor and depressed area of the Kanluran district (western Poblacion) of Balayan, Batangas.
During the Spanish and American regimes, families who were fortunate enough to receive some significant blessings during the past year would parade a lechon in the town plaza every June 24 – the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist. To the poor people of Balayan, the parading of lechon in the plaza, where the Roman Catholic Church is at the center, is the best show of thanksgiving and veneration to their patron saint.
Even during those early times, the sight of people parading lechons – coupled with the centuries-old practice of water dousing in places where St Joho the Baptist is the patron saint -was quite a spectacle to behold.
As the years passed, as more and more poor people from the Kanluran district received blessings or became successful, more and more lechons were paraded every June 24.
In 1959, the elders of the Kanluran district organized the Hermandad San Juan Bautista (Brotherhood of St John the Baptist) to oversee the celebration of what has come to be known as the Parada ng Lechon sa Balayan, Batangas.
The Hermandad revolutionized · the way an old thanksgiving custom was observed. A one-day celebration became a two-week event, with various activities (from sports tournaments, sing and dance contests, magic and acrobatic shows, bicycle race, battle of the bands, ballroom dancing, beauty pageant, free concerts, fireworks show, etc., etc.) being held to serve as prelude to the Parada ng Lechon.
Aside from the prolonged celebration, the Hermandad and the dozens of clubs in the Kanluran district introduced the added ingredients of beer drinking and live bands/combos in the streets, giant streamers/tarpaulins, festive banners and buntings, colorful uniforms and souvenir t-shirts. These ingredients all contribute to a more intensely festive and electrified atmosphere during the whole fiesta celebration.
Today, local and foreign tourists, small and big business, as well as the national and international media, all flock to Balayan, Batangas every June 24 to witness and participate in the most hospitable, lavish and unique fiesta celebration in the country.