Cultural events are listed here with basic background details. For specific events, dates, and times, please see the Featured Events on the Cultural Calendar main page.
Flores De Mayo (Spanish for Flowers of May) is a celebration held every May in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It's a festival that is celebrated throughout the country, marked by prayers and offerings of flowers, as well as the highly-anticipated Santacruzan. The Santacruzan is a religious -historical parade that dates back to the mid-1800s, with the first being in Malolos, Bulaca. It is held in honour of Queen Helena of Constantine and her son, Constantine the Great, finding the True Cross: the Cross that's said to be the one upon which Jesus was crucified.
According to legend, the 75-year-old queen found three crosses during an expedition to the sight of the Crucifixion. To find the True Cross, she had an ailing servant lie on all three with the one healing the servant deemed as the True Cross. The Parade is now commemorated as a pageant with extravagant gowns worn by the most beautiful maidens in local communities, though the essence of the Parade still remains, because there are parts of the country that still commemorate the finding of the True Cross, as well as the virtues embodied by each maiden. The three virtues being (hope, charity, and faith are centric to the Parade itself.) The different reynas or queens also represent different figures that are vital not just to the Parade itself, but also to the history it represents. While the reynas are the highlight of the Parade, there are other roles that are vital role to the parade.
Methusalah: is displayed as an old-beared man stooped in age who rides a cart while toasting grains of sand in a pan over fire. This symbolises that we will always go back to dust.
Samaritana: a woman whom Christ spoke to at Jacob's well. She represents an outcast who was reformed after meeting Christ, and reminds us that salvation is for all and not just for the faithful.
Aeta: anyone dressed as a member of a tribal or regional ethnic group. It represents those groups who have embraced Christian faith.
Veronica: the woman who wiped the face of Jesus. She carries a veil with three imprints of the Holy Face of Jesus instead of the usual one. There are many more non-reyna roles in the Parade, but these are some of the the most common. The Parade itself features a lot of reynas (upwards of 20 depending on the size of the community.) The more prominent ones, however, are as follows:
Reyna Fe: represents the virtue of faith. She carries the Cross.
Reyan Esperanza: symbolises hope. She carries an anchor.
Reyna Caridad: represents charity. She carries a red heart.
Divina Pastora: has a shepherd's staff.
Rosa Mistica: carries a bouquet of roses.
Reyna Emperatriz: is a representation of Queen Helena's tittle Augusta (Empress or Queen Mother) a title given to her by Constantinople.
Reyna Elena: is the personification of St Helena, often seen as the most beautiful or important maiden in the community. Some communities keep her identity a secret until the day of the parade. In other communities, they have as many as three. She is also accompanied by a small boy dressed as Constantine.
Flores de Mayo: 5th May, 2023, Santacruzan: 20th May, 2023.