5000 years ago, people don’t have surnames, they are only identified through their occupation. Labrador (meaning laborer) identifies those who perform hard work in the fields. San Isidro is one of them, a tenant of a certain land. Despite his tardiness he always finishes his tasks for that day. His landlord wondered how the laborer finished his work despite being late, so one time he went to the field to see for himself how San Isidro does his job. Upon arriving at the field he saw an angel plowing the field. In shock and awe the landlord knelt, a scene immortalized in various images of San Isidro Labrador.
Pulilan Carabao Festival was created in honor of the carabao, the farmer’s companion in the fields and his helping hand during plantation and harvest, but the main reason on why it was created is to honor their patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador.
Before the festival, the populace will have Novena for 9 days and for 24 days they will have a procession of the patron saint around different towns of Bulacan. After the said activities the festivities then commence.
The day before the festival four drum and lyre bands with majorette dancers line up in front of the parish and perform their own set of moves and musical tunes as the crowd watches.
At the day of the festival (May 14) the streets are flocked with carabaos, dancers, musicians, and floats resembling the farmer’s beast of burden. Dancers are adorned with colorful costumes and dance in fluid motion.
What makes the festival memorable is the carabaos that kneel whenever they pass by the church, some of them walk while on their knees, a sign of homage to San Isidro de Labrador, the laborer who always finishes his job even when he arrives late.