…which you don’t get to read every day!
As Filipinos, we are accustomed to festivities like Flores de Mayo, an annual tradition celebrated in the month of May. Through arch designs, fascinating wardrobes, and colorful flowers, the queen of all Filipino festivals will surely captivate you with its display of grand sagala gowns and intricate flower arrangements.
“Flores de Mayo” is the Spanish translation for “Flowers of May.” Before the festivities come to a close, we at Lexcode Inc. are happy to share with you three things you need to know about this month’s festivity.
1. It’s different from Santacruzan.
Whereas Flores de Mayo is a Catholic festival held in the Philippines to honor the Virgin Mary with flowers for the entire month, Santacruzan is the novena procession in commemoration of St. Helena’s mythical finding of the cross. The Santacruzan festival is held in celebration of her success throughout her journey to the Calvary to find the real cross of Jesus Christ. That’s why she’s considered as the most important among all the Santacruzan characters.
2. Helena (aka “Reyna Elena”) is the mother of the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity.
Have you ever heard of Constantine the Great? If you haven’t, he was a Roman emperor who initiated the conversion of the Roman Empire to a Christian state. Also known as “Constantine I” or “St. Constantine” in Orthodox Church, he marked a distant epoch in the history of the Roman Empire as he was the first to establish Christianity during his rule. He also renamed Byzantine to Constantinople, and rebuilt a new city that he later called “New Rome.”
3. The Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and Katagalugan celebrate the event differently.
We’re all familiar with the standard celebration of Flores de Mayo, but it is celebrated differently in some areas of the country.
In the Bicol Region, most especially in Sabang, Naga, Flores de Mayo is held every Wednesday and Saturday of May, and the ritual begins with the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Traditional “Maria” is said every after the recitation of Salve Regina and the Litany of Loreto in Spanish translation. Snacks are given to children after every ceremony, and Albasyon (the Spanish translation of “praising”) is sung to honor the Holy Cross. The last day is aptly called “katapusan,” which is a Filipino translation for “the end.”
In Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo, the Catholic chapels in puroks and barangays preach about the Virgin Mary in gatherings. The children also offer flowers to symbolize love, affection, and veneration. Whereas some chapels provide snacks after the devotion, others give children paper tickets in exchange for school supplies, in anticipation of the school opening in June.
Moreover, the Tagalog people celebrate “Mariquít na Bulaclac nasa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buannang Mayo ay Inihahandog nañg mañga Devoto cay María Santísima” through flower and prayer offerings. The aforementioned is a longer form of Flores de Mayo, with an English translation of “Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations in the Whole Month of May Are Offered by Devotees to Mary Most Holy,” which Batangeños, particularly in Lipa, celebrate through a nightly devotion and party honoring the Virgin Mary. Devotees offer flowers and prayers to an image every night, and the designated hermanos or hermanas (Spanish translation of brother/sister) give away treats to all participants before the party. This tradition is called Luglugan.
So, are you as psyched and intrigued by these facts as we at Lexcode are? We sure hope you are!
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