History of Flores de Mayo and the Santacruzan


Flores de Mayo and the Santacruzan in the Philippines: A Floral Tradition Blossoms

Flores de Mayo

The seeds of Flores de Mayo find their origin during the Spanish colocalization of the Philippines. In Spain, events such as the Cordoba Patio Festival, Girona Flower Festival (Temps de Flors), Battle of the Flowers, and Cantabria celebrations mirror the spirit of this beautiful Filipino tradition.

This annual celebration, often marked by religious processions, plays, and beauty pageants, carries a profound devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Mary’s purity and grace woven into Flores de Mayo dresses

The lovely dresses of young virgin girls in Flores de Mayo embody the harmonious fusion of Mary’s virginity, Catholic beliefs, and indigenous customs. This celebration pays tribute to the spiritual and natural beauty of the Philippines.

Filipino community celebrates Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan in East North Carolina in 2019. (Photo: Catholic Diocese of Raleigh)

Honoring the Virgin Mary

Flores de Mayo, which translates to “Flowers of May” in Spanish, is a religious and cultural event dedicated to honoring the Virgin Mary.

At its core, Flores de Mayo is a profound religious devotion and homage to the Blessed Virgin that holds a special place in the hearts of Filipinos.

Flores de Maria de Hagonoy in Bulacan in 2017.

The Significance in Filipino Culture

Flores de Mayo holds immense significance in Filipino culture, reflecting the harmonious blend of indigenous customs and Catholic traditions. Ultimately, it bridges practice and the community.

Processions, Pageants, and Floral Offerings

During Flores de Mayo, various activities occur, each with its unique charm. Colorful processions wind through streets, with participants offering flowers to the Virgin Mary, creating a vibrant floral tapestry in her honor.

The Santacruzan

A Grand Procession of Beauty and History

The “Santacruzan,” a grand procession held on the last day of May. It is the highlight of Flores de May that features young ladies elegantly dressed, each symbolizing a biblical character or historical figure.

The captivating procession, often followed by a pageant, showcases the intersection of beauty, culture, and spirituality.

It embodies the rich religious and historical aspects of the Philippines, with each participant representing a unique facet of faith or history.


Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan

Uniting Generations: Passing Down Traditions

This celebration beautifully unites generations as families pass down their cherished traditions, preserving both cultural heritage and spiritual meaning.

It’s a time when elders share stories of their youth, and youngsters enthusiastically embrace the customs, creating a sense of continuity that is heartwarming to witness.

Santacruzan in Mandaluyong in 1982.
Santacruzan during Flores de Mayo Festival in 2022. (Photo: George Calvelo via Camella Homes)

Passing Down the Torch: Generational Traditions

Flores de Mayo and the Santacruzan thrive across generations and in other countries where Filipinos celebrate the past with the present. The celebration is of cultural significance to a bygone era.

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