Sunday, May 22, 2011


Filipinos celebrate Flores de Mayo during the merry month of May.  Flores de Mayo is celebrated in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The celebration is believed to have started in the mid 1800's when the Vatican proclaimed doctrines regarding the Immaculate Conception. Flowers are offered to the Blessed Virgin. Flores de Mayo are also called as Flores de Maria. The Spaniards brought this tradition to the Philippines.

The Santacruzan is the highlight of Flores de Mayo. It is a religious festivity which is held in barrios and cities throughout the Philippines. It is celebrated in honor of  the finding of the relics of the True Cross by Queen Helena or St. Helena, the mother of  Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. 

Around 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ, Queen Helena was in search for the True Cross of  Jesus. At age of 75, at the Calvary, she found 3 crosses. She asked her servants who were sick to touch each cross. After touching one of the crosses, the servants were miraculously healed. This cross was believed to be the cross of Jesus Christ. 

Santacruzan or Sara ng Krus as other calls it, starts with a novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary wherein each day,  the holy rosary prayer was offered, prior to a procession which is done every night until the ninth day, which is the highlight of the festivity.         
On the morning of the 9th day, which is the Santacruzan, a mass was held followed by a native Filipino games such as the Palo Sebo (greased bamboo climbing), hampas palayok (similar to piñata but instead a clay pot is used to hold the candies), marathon and the agawang buko(coconut snatching).

On the evening, selected beautiful maidens ( known as Sagalas) dressed in gowns join the religious pageant. This procession is   arranged in order, usually according to the Sagala's age, height and beauty. Sagalas usually carries a bunch of flowers while the Emperatriz carries a small wooden cross. Equally handsome Consortes (Escorts) accompanies the Sagalas during the procession. 
They were under a wooden or bamboo arc decorated with flowers. The Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) are accompanied with a young boy called the Constantino(Constantine).

The carriage of the cross were usually decorated by different flowers by townsfolk. The Cantores (singers) sings the Dios te Salve continuously. 
Usually the Santacruzan does not end with the procession. Most of the time, a street party were held to celebrate the successful and peaceful novena.

Dios Te Salve (Hail Mary)  
Dios te salve Maria
Llena eres de gracia
El senor es contigo
Bendita tu eres
Entre todas las mujeres
Y bendito es el fruto
Y bendito es el fruto
De tu vientre Jesus.
Santa Maria Madre de Dios
Ruega por nosotros
Pecadores ahora
Y en la hora
De nuestra muerte amen. Jesus.

Virgen divino sagrario,Virgen divino sagrario,( sagrario)
vuestros gozos cantaremos
y enellos meditaremos
los misterios del rosario (los misterios del rosario)

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