Flores de Mayo
From WikiPilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia
To view related article in Filipino, please click Flores de Mayo. Flores de Mayo (flowers of May), sometimes called Flores de Maria is a flower festival celebrated annually in May to honor the Virgin Mary.
The custom and the celebration originated in the Tagalog region after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and after the publication circa 1867 of Mariano Sevilla's translation of the devotional Flores de Maria or Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto cay Maria Santisima (The Flowers of Mary or the Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations During the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary the Holiest)
A Santacruzan is a religious-historical beauty pageant which conveys the story the discovery of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, Constantine the great's mother. Santacruzan is also known for the participation of famous personalities as major sagalas and escorts.
A novena (nine days of prayer) preceds the Santacruzan which was introduced by the Spaniards to the Philippines and has since become part of Filipino traditions concerning youth, love and romance.
 Santacruzan characters
- Methuselah - The bearded ancient-looking man riding a cart and toasting grains of sand in a pan over a fire. He is a reminder of the temperal nature of material riches.
- Reyna Banderada - The young lady dressed in a long red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the coming of Christianity.
- Aetas - As converted pagans, they represent the state of the country Christianity.
- Reyna Mora - She represents the dominant religion before Christianity. Her name is the feminine form of “Moro”, the Muslim religion.
- Reyna Fe - She and the cross she carries symbolizes faith, the first of the theological virtues.
- Reyna Esperanza - She and her anchor symbolizes hope - the second theological virtue.
- Reyna Caridad - She and the red heart she carries symbolizes charity - the third theological virtue.
- Reyna Abogada - She is the defender of the poor and oppressed. She wears a black graduation cap (toga) and gown and carries a big book.
- Reyna Sentenciada - Her slim hands bound by a rope, she is accompanied by two Roman soldiers. She represents the innocents who have been convicted.
- Reyna Justicia - She is the personification of the "mirror of justice" represented by the weighing scale and sword she carries.
- Reyna Judith - She represents Judith of Pethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians after she beheaded the cruel Holofernes. She carries the men's head in one hand and a sword in the other.
- Reyna Sheba - She is the one who visited the famed King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power and riches. She carries a jewelry box.
- Reyna Esther - She is the biblical Jew who spared her countrymen from death and destruction through timely intervention with the King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.
- Samaritana - She is the woman whom Christ spoke to at the well. She carries a jug on her shoulder.
- Veronica - She carries the bandana she used to wipe the face of Jesus. Her bandana is imprinted with the three faces of Jesus.
- Tres Marias - Mary of Magdala, who carries a bottle of perfume; Mary, Mother of Christ, who carries a handkerchief; and Mary, mother of James, who carries a bottle of oil.
- Marian - This elebrates the many titles of the Virgin Mary.
- A-v-e--M-a-r-i-a - represented by eight girls dressed as angels. Each one carries a letter to complete the words "AVE MARIA."
- Divina pastora or the Divine Shepherdess - She carries a shepherdess' staff.
- Reyna de las Estrellas or the Queen of Stars - She carries a wand with a star.
- Rosa Mystica - She carries a bouquet of roses.
- Reyna Paz or the Queen of Peace - She carries the symbol of peace.
- Reyna de las Propetas - She carries a hour glass.
- Reyna del Cielo or the Queen of Heaven - She carries a flower accompanied by two angels.
- Reyna de las Virgines - She carries a rosary and is surrounded by two angels.
- Reyna de las Flores or the Queen of Flowers - She carries a bouquet of flowers.
- Reyna Elena or Queen Helena - She is the legendary quester of the Holy Cross, represented by the small cross she carries. She is escorted by her son, Constantine.
The procession is followed by the rondalla, playing and singing "Dios Te Salve". The devotees walking with the procession hold lit candles in their hands and sing the prayer.
A pabitin serves as the culminating of the activity participated in by the children. Pabitin is a square trellis where candies, fruits, etc. are hung by strings. This trellis in turn is tied to a rope and is suspended on a strong branch or pole. The children gather under the trellis and they jump as high as they can to try to pick the goodies as the trellis is pulled up and down repeatedly until all the goodies are gone.
 Santacruzan around the world
Some Filipino communities and associations all over the world celebrate the Santacruzan following the same traditions as the Philippines.
Filipino-Americans in New Orleans maintain the tradition courtesy of the Franzuela Family. In Europe, the Euro-Santacruzan is hosted by the Filipino community in Belgium.
- Flores de Mayo Seasite.niu.edu (Accessed 11 May 2010)
- Flores de Mayo Filipino.com.au (Accessed 11 May 2010)
- Fiesta Flores de Mayo Intas-travel.com (Accessed 11 May 2010)