Flores de Mayo: The Philippines’ floral-religious fiesta
While the Philippines doesn’t have the season of springtime, blooming flowers are still a big thing for May. That’s because the month signals the coming of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) Festival, a well known holiday in the Philippines.
Celebrated as a religious event, it reveres the Virgin Mary and pays tribute to her, as May is dedicated to the devotion of the mother of Christ. Lasting the entire month, a series of novenas, prayers, processions and floral decorating is observed in different parts of the Philippine islands, even in small rural communities.
Regions in the Philippines such as the Bicol Region, parts of Western Visayas and even Makati, Manila take part in the Flores de Mayo festivities, and some celebrations may vary.
During the last few days of the event, a procession called the Santacruzan (Sacred Cross) is celebrated. During this activity, a long train of symbolic elements, from people in specific dresses to stylish floats (decorated with flowers, of course), parade on the streets with Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) at the very end. She is escorted by the person representing “Constantine” under a canopy of May flowers and followed by a float carrying the Virgin Mary. She is said to represent Saint Helena, who went to Calvary to search for the true cross of Jesus. The cross she carries with her during the parade recalls this fact.
The parade is an exciting sight, and it’s a delight to witness how people will use blooming flowers in decorations for their devotion to the Virgin Mary. Think of it as a springtime celebration in a country that is always tropically sunny. If you want to see the floral festival, you’re welcome to visit and enjoy this display for yourself!
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