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Flores de Mayo or Santacruzan Festival
May 1-31 / Nationwide

The Flores de mayo is 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 Holies. Santacruzan a parade of the town's loveliest ladies depicting the search and discovery of Christ's Cross by Queen Helena and Constantine.

During the month of May Flores de mayo is held. In the tropical islands of the Philippines we don't have to stop the fragrance of flowers floats in the air.

When the rains begin to pour after a long dry spell, flowers magically bloom overnight Flores de mayo is here. And being predominantly Catholic, the Filipinos celebrate the beneficial rains by giving praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The town folk gather the colorful flowers to decorate the Parish Church altars and aisles. They bundle the blooms in exotic arrangements for the many different festivities all together referred to as the "Flores De Mayo"

Many towns celebrate Flores De Mayo with the community congregating in the afternoons to pray the rosary, offer flowers to the Virgin Mary, and share homemade delicacies and snacks. Children and adults wearing their Sunday best sing and dance to welcome the rains that will water the new crops.

The procession is called "Santacruzan" (Festival of the Holy Cross), a commemoration of the finding of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem by Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great.

The town folk choose pretty young ladies to represent the various characters of the commemoration: the "Accolades of Our Lady". Each one is dressed in an exquisite, colorful gown, looking as regal as the Reina (Queen) she portrays. Reina Fe (Faith), Reina Esperanza (Hope), Reina Caridad (Charity), Reina Mora (Muslim), Reina Banderada (Flag), and Reina Justicia (Justice) walk with their consorts under hand-carried bamboo arches decked with color-themed native flowers.

The Santacruzan is a procession commemorating St. Helena's finding the "True Cross"; proceeded by a nine-day Novena in honor of the Holy Cross. On the ninth day, usually on a weekend, the Santacruzan is held. The Reina Elena, accompanied by a little boy representing King Constantine, and the other sagalas representing biblical characters and the attributes of the Blessed Virgin, walk under gaily decorated arches.

The highlight of the procession of the santacruzan is the magestic Reina Elena (Queen Helena) who walks with her consort, Prinsipe Constantino, under a huge canopy of May flowers. Immediately behind her is a float carrying the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, followed by a brass band that lends the festive sounds to the procession of the famous Flores de mayo and Santacruzan.

In the month of May Flores de mayo and santacruzan is just appetizer, Filipinos don't need to stop to smell the flowers. The fragrance of sampaguitas kalachuchis, roses and other blooms, floats in the air every time of the year.


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