View Full Version : May Day's Eve

07-01-2014, 10:05 PM
Digital mixed media illustration
Model: Iya
Costume and styling by the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group

My tribute to Nick Joaquin, National Artist of the Philippines for Literature, on the occasion of his 10th death anniversary.

"May Day Eve" is a short story written by Filipino National Artist Nick Joaquin. Written after World War II, it became one of Joaquin's “signature stories” that became a classic in Philippine literature in English. Together with Joaquin's other stories like The Mass of St. Sylvester, Doña Jeronima and Candido’s Apocalypse, May Day Eve utilized the theme of "magic realism" long before the genre was made a trend in Latin American novels. Published in 1947, it is a story originally intended for adult readers, but has later become a required and important reading material for Filipino students.


07-02-2014, 05:14 AM
May Day Eve is set at the turn of the century and tells of the relationship between a couple that revolves around a superstition that a person could see one's future husband or wife in a mirror on May Day Eve. Hearing the story of the superstion from an old woman on May Day Eve a lovely young girl, Agueda, decides to test it despite the warning that she might see, instead of her future husband, the devil. She peers in a mirror in a darkened room and sees the reflection of a young man--the drunken Badoy Montiya. Badly startled and embarrassed, she lashes out at him. Montiya is at once furious and fascinated with her.

The couple, after their marriage, each remember the incident at different stages in their lives as they find their daughter and their grandson also peering into mirrors. The grandson's attempt at the ritual using the same mirror Agueda peered in shows how enduring the superstition was, more enduring than Montiya's love and the couple's difficult relationship.

The story "depicted the status Filipino women had during in the past. In this still seemingly patriarchal world, we are somehow forced to believe that men are superior and that women are just subordinate to men. This ideology was even more highlighted in the past, where women were totally deprived of the necessary rights that men had always enjoyed. In the story, the vital issue of marriage, wherein women are forced to marry men, was particularly portrayed."

07-02-2014, 12:43 PM
Powerful imagery.

07-03-2014, 06:05 PM

07-03-2014, 07:26 PM
Powerful story and wonderful imagery!

07-03-2014, 09:54 PM
Thank you very much