Flores, from Spanish flores or "flowers," also known as Flores de Mayo (flowers of May), Flores de Maria (flowers of Mary) or alay (offering), may refer to the whole Flower Festival celebrated in the month of May in honor of the Virgin Mary .
In the Tagalog region, this custom and celebration started after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and after the publication circa 1867 of Mariano Sevilla's translation of the devotional Flores de Maria or Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buwan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang mga Deboto kay Maria Santisima (The Flowers of Mary or the Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations During the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary the Holiest).
A Santacruzan is a religious-historical beauty pagent held in many cities, towns and even small villages throughout the Philippines during the month of May. One of the most colorful May-time festivals in the Philippines which depicts the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Many movie and television personalities participate in the events and are featured as major sagalas and escorts.
The festivity commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena (Reina Elena) and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to rome, there was a joyful celebration for thanksgiving.
Nine days of prayer (a novena) in honor of the Holy Cross precedes the Flores de Mayo or Santacruzan. This festival was introduced by the Spaniards in the Philippines and has since become part of Filipino traditions identified with youth, love and romance.
This colorful pageant parade is arranged in this order:
1. Methuselah - he is bearded, bent with age, riding a cart looking preoccupied with toasting some grains of sand in a pan over a fire. This is a reminder that all that glitters will end up as dust like what he
2. Reyna Banderada - a young lady dressed in a long red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the coming of Christianity.
3. Aetas - represent the state of the country before the coming of Christianity. These are the unconverted Filipino pagans.
4. Reyna Mora - represents the dominant religion before Christianity (feminine of Moro from the Moslem religion).
5. Reyna Fe - symbolizes the virtue of faith - the first of the theological virtues. She carries a cross.
6. Reyna Esperanza - symbolizes the virtue of hope - the second theological virtue. She carries an anchor.
7. Reyna Caridad - symbolizes the virtue of charity - the third theological virtue. She carries a red heart.
8. Reyna Abogada - the defender of the poor and the oppressed. She wears a black graduation cap (toga) and gown and she carries a big book.
9. Reyna Sentenciada - has her slim hands bound by a rope. She is the symbol of the innocents who have been convicted. She is accompanied by two Roman soldiers.
10. Reyna Justicia - a personification of the "mirror of justice". She carries a weighing scale and a sword.
11. Reyna Judith - representing Judith of Pethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians after she beheaded the cruel holoferns. She carries the head of the beheaded man on one hand and a sword on the other.
12. Reyna Sheba - who visited the famed King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power and richess. She carries a jewelry box.
13. Reyna Esther - the biblical Jewish who spared her countrymen from death and destruction through timely intervention with the King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.
14. Samaritana - the woman who Christ spoke to at the well. She carries a jug on her shoulder.
15. Veronica - the woman who wiped the face of Jesus. She carries a bandana imprinted with the three faces of Jesus.
16. Tres Marias: Mary of Magdala - she carries a bottle of perfume; Mary, Mother of Christ - she carries a handkerchief; Mary, mother of James - she carries a bottle of oil.
17. Marian - celebrating the many titles of the Virgin Mary.
The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion — the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another.
Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God." In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.
In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom (To Autolycus II.15). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian (On Pudicity 21). In the next century the word is in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen ("In Ps. xvii", 15). The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen's pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:
There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever .
Filipinos has a very strong spiritual culture and for many years, The Virgin Mary still remains as the powerful symbol. Most Filipinos are praying the rosary everyday. We can see the image and the of the Virgin Mary anywhere in homes, church, chapels, schools, offices and etc. This attracts people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
In this, Filipinos are celebrating festivals in honor of the Virgin Mary. These are Marian Festivals and are celebrated in different parts of the country. There are also towns and cities in the Philippines that aside from celebrating the festivals in honor of a town’s or city’s patron saint, each also has their own claim to the Virgin Mary with a festivity in Her honor and vigorously celebrated throughout the year.
Here are the known and popular Marian Festivals that are celebrated in the Philippines:
1. Feast of Our Lady of Candles in Jaro, Iloilo City: This Marian Festival is the biggest, extravagant and lavish religious pageantry in Western Visayas. The Highlights of the Festival is celebrated by the blessing of candles and the yearly procession of the patroness, the Nuestra Senora de Candelaria is followed by the fiesta queen and her court.
2. Manaoag Pilgrimage in Pangasinan: Every April of each year, thousands of pilgrims and devotees go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaog. In this, it has become a festival or fiesta in itself. Devotees and pilgrims made this place a religious tradition of gathering to honor the Virgin Mary. The miraculous image of the Virgin Mary attracts thousands of people, locals and tourists, that it became one of the province tourist attraction.
3. Antipolo Pilgrimage in Rizal: This Marian Festival is a month long celebration. This festival brings devotees and pilgrims to worship and adore the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage enshrined in Antipolo Church.
4. Tapusan in Kawit, Cavite: This festival is celebrated with a procession of gaily decorated floats decked with flowers honoring Mary. The participation of the town’s most beautiful young ladies symbolizes the purity and innocence of the Blessed Virgin.
5. Obando Fertility Rites in Bulacan: This is a three day festival or fiesta in honor of the Nuestra Senora de Salambao, San Pascual Baylon and Sta. Clara. The festival is so great and popular because childless couples, thankful parents, grateful farmers and fishermen are dancing in the streets together with the women that are dressed in colorful costume praying for children and good harvest.
6. Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion in Intramuros, Manila: This Marian Festival is celebrated with a mass in honor of the La Immaculada, patroness of Intramuros. Then a grand procession of more than 50 Marian images from all over the country that is participated by thousands of devotees and pilgrims will follow.
7. La Naval de Manila in Quezon City: This Marian Festival is celebrated by a procession of the centuries old image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of La Naval carved in 1533 and given as a gift to the Dominican Fathers. This image is put in a beautiful decorated luxurious carriage in the form of a ship. The image is preceded by a dozen or so images of Dominican saints in the procession.
8. Feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in Naga City, Camarines Sur: This religious Marian Festival is celebrated in honor of Bicol’s most revered patroness. This Marian Festival is a week long fiesta that has many events. The events includes the street dancing competition, cultural shows and the fluvial procession of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia down the Bicol river.
9. Flores de Mayo: This is most popular Marian Festival in the country. This Marian Festival is held everywhere in the Philippines. Flores de Mayo is celebrated in the month of May and is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Marian Festival is celebrated with children who has cut flowers and baskets of petals marches down the church center aisle sprinkling the fragrant petals for Mama Mary.