“Paray” is the local term for palay or rice grain. Paray Festival was coined in 2001 to replace the Hin-ay Festival, “Hin-ay” being the name of pioneering community of original settlers which later became Irosin. The term paray was adopted for its dual symbolism: it aptly depicts Irosin as land-locked rice producing agricultural community and the Festival of Palay is a celebration for a bountiful harvest. And taking into account that Irosinians are predominantly Roman Catholics, Paray Festival coincides with the September 29 celebration of the feast of St. Michael the Archangel – the patron saint of the local parish church. The Paray Festival of Irosin centers on three major themes:
Rice is the primary food crop of Irosin. Rice production surpasses the local food requirement and surplus production is exported to neighboring towns and provinces. September, the month of Paray Festival, is the start of the rice harvest for the wet planting season. The harvest festival reaffirms the productivity of Irosin’s agricultural lands in providing sustenance to many rice farming households. The festivities also means increased economic activity – thereby promoting trade and commerce in the locality
Viva San Miguel! Street Dancing
The primordial battle between the Army of God against Satan’s forces is a recurring theme in Paray Festival activities. In Christian tradition, St. Michael is the prince of light leading the forces of good in a war against evil which resulted in Satan being thrown from heaven. The victory in the war in heaven is celebrated and St. Michael’s divine intervention is sought for the continued blessings and protection from evil.
Culture and Sports
The Paray Festival also serves as a venue for the promotion of local heritage, culture and sports development. Cultural events, showcasing of local talents, sports and recreational activities are integrated into the month-long festival.
The yearly Paray Festival plays a pivotal role in promoting multi-sectoral participation in community endeavors. Festival activities are planned and implemented by different schools, organizations, barangays and sectors of Irosin. Paray Festival is a reaffirmation of the unity of Irosinians as a community.