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Freeze: Flores de Mayo & Santa Cruzan

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.

Reyna Elena and escort Constantino (image source: aranzazushrine.ph)

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.

Reyna Esperanza symbolizes the virtue of hope, the second theological virtue. She carries an anchor (image source: catholicsandcultures.org)

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.

Reyna Caridad symbolizes the virtue of charity, the third theological virtue. She carries a red heart (image source: catholicsandcultures.org)

Here are some of the characters seen in a Santa Cruzan procession.

Reyna Mora (Queen Moor) represents Muslim Filipinos who are concentrated in Mindanao and large cities such as Manila. Islam arrived in the archipelago two centuries before Christianity, and is now the country’s second-largest religion. Mary is also honored in Islam, and her story is found in the 19th sura (chapter) of the Qur’an (image source: ofwpinoystar.com)
Reyna Fe symbolizes the virtue of faith, the first of the theological virtues (image source: santafefiesta.org)
Reyna Banderada represents the arrival of Christianity (image source: picdove.com)
Jennylyn Mercado as Reyna Justicia or Queen Justice (image source: randomrepublika.com)
A Barbie doll as Reyna de las Aetas represents the Aetas in the Philippines before Christianity came (image source: picssr)
Nuestra Señora Reina del Cielo y Tierra (image source: flickr.com, Lawrence Miguel, Alay Kay Maria: Marian Exhibit 2009, Kapitan Moy, Marikina City M.M.)
Hara Humamay, aka Queen Juana of Cebu. Wife of Rajah Humabon, she received the statue of Santo Niño from Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu (image source: tumblr.com)
Reyna Sentenciada represents the people who were punished for the crimes they didn’t do. She is bound by two Roman soldiers (image source: everystockphoto)
A 1950 movie poster featuring Solomon (Yul Brynner) and Gina Lollobrigida as Queen Sheba. Reina Sheba was the queen who visited King Solomon to test his knowledge and got overwhelmed by Solomon’s wisdom, wealth, and power (image source: classicofilm.com)
Reina Paz or The Queen of Peace – Mary was fulfilled by the holy spirit and accepted its gift of Peace. (image source: hiveminer.com)
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