The Santa Cruzan pageant is enjoyed in many parts of the Philippines. This Catholic tradition may have started in the country during the 1800s when the Vatican released doctrines about the Immaculate Conception. It is the culminating activity of the month-long Flores de Mayo devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some people believe that Flores de Mayo was first observed in Malolos, Bulacan.
Flores de Mayo means the flowers of May as flowers are offered everyday to the Virgin Mary. Santa Cruz means the holy cross or the true cross on which Jesus died found by St. Helena (Reyna Elena), mother of Constantine the Great (Constantino). Santa Cruzan commemorates the legend. It is the last day of Flores de Mayo.
Since the tradition is more than one hundred years old in the country, several thousands of young boys must have played Constantino and beautiful young ladies as Reyna Elena. I’m not sure if the participants truly understand what they’re doing but it probably doesn’t matter to the young ones as long as they enjoy the spectacle. After all, the fiesta-loving Filipinos are always up for mingling with friends and relatives.
Here are some of the characters seen in a Santa Cruzan procession.