fresh no ads
Explainer: Santacruzan, Flores de Mayo: What’s the difference? |

Arts and Culture

Explainer: Santacruzan, Flores de Mayo: What’s the difference?

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Explainer: Santacruzan, Flores de Mayo: Whatâs the difference?
From left: Karylle Tatlonghari-Yuzon is Reyna Elena, her mom Zsa Zsa Padilla is Reyna Emperatriz at Intramuros' Santacruzan procession for 2024 / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — Every May, apart from Mother’s Day and National Heritage Month, the country observes many summer festivals, particularly, Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo.

Specifically popular in provinces, Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo both involve ladies parading all over town in elaborate gowns, and oftentimes, with an escort and a decorated arch being carried over their heads.

People usually use “Santacruzan” to refer to “Flores de Mayo,” and vice versa, and although there are similarities between the two, they are still different from one another, said The Philippine Heritage Society, an organization dedicated to preserve, promote and disseminate Filipino culture.

According to the Society, Santa Cruz de Mayo, or more popularly known as Santacruzan, “is a highly anticipated event in the Filipino calendar, celebrated across towns and cities in the Philippines. 

“This event is rich in history, religion, and features a beautiful and elaborate parade,” a Society’s representative said in a speech at a grand Santacruzan in Intramuros last Sunday.

“Introduced by the Spaniards in the Philippines in 1800s, actually it all started here in Intramuros, is a popular Filipino Catholic tradition that commemorates and retells the story of Queen Helena or Reyna Helena, mother of Constantine the Great who found the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified and was brought back to Rome.”

According to the Society, one difference of Santacruzan from Flores de Mayo is that in Santacruzan, every participant is assigned to represent a Biblical character.

“The virtues associated with the Santacruzan are hope, faith and charity, so these can be seen in the lineup (of queens in the parade),” the Society’s representative explained.

“Today, Santacruzan has evolved from a purely religious parade into an extravagant fashion (presentation)… Beautiful girls from each town are chosen to portray historical figures… and participants wear stunning multicolored costumes…”

The difference between Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan, said the representative, is that Flores de Mayo is a month-long event in May. 

“(It is) a processional pageantry, which honors the Virgin Mary,” the representative said.

“But, the Santacruzan held at the end of Flores de Mayo celebrates the Queen Helena of Constantinople’s finding of the true cross, lending historical reverence to a colorful procession.”

The representative added that the Catholic Church originally used Santacruzan as a preaching tool: “The actual parade of the Santacruzan is an effective way for the younger generation and the Catholic faithful to be (evangelized).”

Philippine Heritage Society President Kate Bellosillo, in a speech before the Intramuros parade last Sunday, said, “We’re going to have a procession to commemorate the search for the Holy Cross after the death of Jesus Christ, by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. Kaya po ang tawag sa ating celebration today ay Santa Cruz de Mayo.”

“Iba po ito sa Flores de Mayo – a flower festival that pays tribute to the Virgin Mary,” she stressed.

“Truly, the Santa Cruz de Mayo is a symbol of our strong religious tradition as a nation and our deep respect of our religious roots and heritage. Mahalaga pong maalala natin saan ba tayo nanggaling para alam natin kung saan tayo pupunta bilang isang bansa.”

vuukle comment



Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with