The Santacruzan

Far across the sea, in the southeast coast of Asia, lies the chain of 7,100 islands collectively known as the Philippines.  It is a land full of beauty and love.  In this land, Christianity was born in the 16th century out of which a popular religious May-time festival sprang.

May is the merriest and the most beautiful month of the year.  It is the season of colourful festivals like “Flores de Mayo” which was later melded together with a religious pageant which is now known as the Santacruzan.  “Flores de Mayo” is a flower offering by little village children to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as they march around the grounds of the chapel.

The Santacruzan is a novena procession commemorating the finding of the Holy Cross by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and her Royal Regiment in the year 324 A.D.  The Santacruzan is the most unique, best loved, beautiful and most festive celebration of our Christian faith.

Flores de Mayo / Santacruzan Fiesta

Over the years, because of the love of Filipinos for innovation and creativity, their passion for splendor and the spectacular, this religious pageantry evolved into an unrestrained display of biblical figures, characters of beauty, purity and fancy, and symbols of attributes to the Virgin Mary.

The Santacruzan has always been an attractive force in the villages in the country.  Beautiful town belles are selected to participate in this colourful pageant parade.  The little children attract the most attention with their grace, charm and innocence.  This is the night when the peasant child gets to be equal with the landlord’s child as they both march side by side as “sagalas” or muses.  The children who are non-participants also get their own thrill with the “pabitin” which is a bamboo trellis, filled with toys and treats, which they try to reach to bring down the goodies.  Amidst all the grandeur, only the lighted candles of the non-participants and solemn singing of “Dios Te Salve” preserve the religious atmosphere of the entire presentation.

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