In the Philippines, the Filipinos are going to celebrate their annual Flower Festival which held in every month of May. It is a way for them to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a catholic country, the Filipino communities gather the colorful flowers to decorate the Parish Church altars and aisles. On the last day of Flores de Mayo, a procession or known as Santa Cruzan will then precede to commemorate the finding of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem by Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, eventually one of the most colorful May-time festivals in the Philippines.
Flores is a Spanish word for “flowers” which also known as Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) or Flores de Maria (flowers of Mary). The festival is firmly believed that it’s origin was came from the town of Malolos, Bulacan in 1865, when the young girls there made an alay (offering) to the Virgin Mary in the parish church.
The celebration of Santa Cruzan parades pretty young ladies by representing the different 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.
They move along the streets while devotees are holding little candles to follow, and join in the rosary, novena, and songs of praise. It is oftentimes that the town Mayor hosts a dinner party to cap the celebrations at the end of the evening mass. The sweet fragrance of different flowers such as sampaguitas (Philippines’ National Flower), kalachuchis, and roses are blooming throughout the air.