The month of May is known to be one of the festive months in the Philippines. This is also the month where we celebrate the Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May).
Flores de Mayo is held to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s celebrated throughout the country by prayers and offerings of flowers, as well as the most anticipated Santacruzan.
And if you think that Santacruzan is just a parade of beautiful Reynas, then you’ve actually haven’t known its origin.
History of Santacruzan
The Santacruzan is a religious-historical parade that started in the mid-1800s and was first held in Malolos, Bulacan.
Santacruzan is held to commemorate and honor Queen Helena of Constantinople and her son, Constantine the Great for finding the True Cross (the cross that’s said to be the one upon which Jesus was crucified).
According to legend, the 75-year-old queen found three crosses during an expedition to the sight of the Crucifixion. To find the True Cross, she had an ailing servant lie on all three, with the one healing the servant deemed as the True Cross.
While everyone is excited to see the Reynas, there are also some important characters that are included in the Santacruzan.
- Methuselah – he is bearded, bent with age, riding a cart looking preoccupied with toasting some grains of sand in a pan over a fire. This is a reminder that all that glitters will end up as dust like what he is toasting.
- Aetas – represent the state of the country before the coming of Christianity. These are the unconverted Filipino pagans.
- Samaritana – the woman who Christ spoke to at the well. She carries a jug on her shoulder.
- Veronica – the woman who wiped the face of Jesus. She carries a bandana imprinted with the three faces of Jesus
- Tres Marias – Mary of Magdala, she carries a bottle of perfume; Mary, Mother of Christ – she carries a handkerchief; Mary, mother of James – she carries a bottle of oil.
- Marian – celebrating the many titles of the Virgin Mary.
There are many Reynas in the Santacruzan, so it depends on the community if they will include them all.
Here are the list of the Reynas and their representation:
- Reyna Banderada – a young lady dressed in a long red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the coming of Christianity.
- Reyna Mora – represents the dominant religion before Christianity (feminine of Moro from the Moslem religion).
- Reyna Fe – symbolizes the virtue of faith – the first of the theological virtues. She carries a cross.
- Reyna Esperanza – symbolizes the virtue of hope – the second theological virtue. She carries an anchor.
- Reyna Caridad – symbolizes the virtue of charity – the third theological virtue. She carries a red heart.
- Reyna Abogada – the defender of the poor and the oppressed. She wears a black graduation cap (toga) and gown and she carries a big book.
- Reyna Sentenciada – has her slim hands bound by a rope. She is the symbol of the innocents who have been convicted. She is accompanied by two Roman soldiers.
- Reyna Justicia – a personification of the “mirror of justice”. She carries a weighing scale and a sword.
- Reyna Judith – representing Judith of Pethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians after she beheaded the cruel Holofernes. She carries the head of the beheaded man on one hand and a sword on the other.
- Reyna Sheba – who visited the famed King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power, and richness. She carries a jewelry box.
- Reyna Esther – the biblical Jewish who spared her countrymen from death and destruction through timely intervention with King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.
- A-v-e–M-a-r-i-a -represented by eight (8) girls all Wearing long white dresses with wings to make them look like angels. Each one carries a letter to complete the word “AVE MARIA.”
- Reyna del Cielo (Queen of Heaven) – she carries a flower. She has two (2) angels.
- Reyna de las Estrellas (Queen of Stars) – she carries a wand with a star.
- Rosa Mystica – she carries a bouquet of roses.
- Reyna Paz (queen of peace) – she carries the symbol of peace.
- Reyna de las Propetas – she carries an hourglass.
- Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess) – she carries a shepherdess’ staff.
- Reyna de las Virgines – she carries a rosary and is surrounded by two (2) little angels.
- Reyna de las Flores (Queen of Flowers) – she carries a bouquet of flowers.
- Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) and Constantine – the legendary founder of the true Cross, represented by the small cross. She is usually accompanied by a young boy who represents her son, Constantine.