Kuraldal Festival is a celebration for Sta. Lucia, the patron saint of Sasmuan, Pampanga. It starts January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings, and ends 5 days after, with a ritual dance along the street after a mass. Similar to the devotees of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, people from the town and around the world gather on this particular day to ask Sta. Lucia her divine providence.
“Viva Apu Lucia! Pwera Sakit!”
The shout that the crowd chants meaning “Hail St. Lucy! Away with illnesses!”. People/devotees cry for healing and miracles. To them, it’s like a prayer, and they shout in order to be heard. The ritual dance is similar to waltz, step left, step right, along with the shout “Viva Apo Lucia!” plus your wish of good health and other hopes.
The culminating mass before the ritual dance is held on an elevated stage. During the mass, two figures are displayed on both sides of the makeshift altar. One of these is a small figure of Apung Lucia which, according to townspeople, is the one that casts miracles. After the mass, the attendees fall in line with their handkerchiefs and their children, all wanting to touch the old icon for what they believe has healing and therapeutic properties.
Rooted in a pre-colonial fluvial parade tradition that was combined with Catholic beliefs—“Kuraldal” comes from the Spanish word “curar”, which means “to heal or to cure”, and “dal, a Sanskrit word meaning “split”.
Kuraldal may also have been a para-liturgical ritual begun by the Augustinian or the secular priest, which, over the years, was moved out from inside the church patio and later, farther into the streets of the community. It was also believed that Kuraldal was part of the native’s harvest ritual in the pre-Hispanic times.
Nevertheless, the cry from the devotees and their strong faith in Sta. Lucia’s miracles are visible on their faces and can be seen thru their soul. Their hopes rely on this strong faith which makes them a dedicated devotee, probably hoping for a better one, or just simply giving thanks to the being.
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