Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (2023)

The month of May has now begun. An exceptional month when the fragrance of assorted flowers floats into the air. The time when everyone remembers its name because of its connection to the Virgin Mary and the blooming flowers. A perfect moment when the land teems with bountiful blooms under the delicate blue sky. It is also when everyone wants to plan their summer vacation and dive right into a cold pool or find summer beach getaways.

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (1)

Mother’s Day is also part of this extraordinary month – a perfect choice of time as it is also a Marian month. Setting aside all of these, there is more to May than what’s on its surface. Religious events are bound to unfold when the month of May arrives. This month also marks when Filipinos refresh the history of Christianity and the legendary quest of St. Helena to find the Holy Cross. Get to know more about this well-celebrated festival through this blog.

Introducing Flores de Mayo – The Queen of Philippine Festivals

One of the most celebrated Christian festivals in the Philippines is Flores de Mayo or also called Flores de Maria. It is a Spanish term that translates to ‘Flowers of May’.

How did Flores de Mayo start in the Philippines?

Spanish conquistadors and friars introduced it in the mid-1800s. It is a tribute to the Virgin Mary, who gives rain when farmers ask for it, and the celebration for it represents the farmers’ unwavering gratitude. Stories say that it makes various flowers bloom and grow new crops for food. It has been practiced for hundreds of years now, but we still observe them up to this day. In fact, it is widely observed throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Furthermore, it is gaining further recognition abroad, such as in Europe and America because of the Filipino immigrants who brought it with them.

(Video) Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan: The History!

What are the traces of Flores de Mayo in Philippine history?

This forming giant of culture has long been engraved in the hearts of Filipino Catholics. It is the symbol of the country’s history and culture – a trademark that should never lose its true essence. For a bit of background on its history, this month-long holy rite began right after the dogma of Immaculate Conception was proclaimed in the year 1854. It became even more popular when it was followed by the published interpretation of Mariano Sevilla’s Flores de Maria. His book called ‘ Mariquite na Bulaklak sa Pagninilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto Cay Maria Santisima’ gained popularity and spread its influence across the country. In 1867, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan has been officially observed in Malolos, Bulacan.

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (2)

It has been dubbed as the ‘Queen of Philippine Festivals’ because it is not only celebrated for the entire month of May but is also the most-anticipated festival of all. In Filipino tradition, they will make this moment colorful, magical, and pleasing. It is so extravagant that no other celebration can surmount its grandeur beauty. The tradition follows an order of gathering the town folks during the afternoon.

People are expected to give daily prayers and flowers. The assorted flowers will be offered to the Virgin Mary in front of the altar. It will be collected until the grand procession takes place at the end of the month. You can sense the scent of May through the flowers when you enter the church. Suppose you are a foreigner who will witness this opulent festival for the very first time. In that case, you will realize how Filipinos strongly value Catholicism, and it is observable through their overflowing faith.

Flores de Mayo: A tradition passed down for generations

On the other hand, if you are a local who lives in the country’s capital, you might hear the news that Flores de Mayo is more prevalent in the provinces. You can visit any region, such as Cebu, Ilocos Norte, and Aklan. It will be less hassle if you have a house and lot to go home to. When you arrive in the province, you will be amazed at how this celebration brings townspeople together and brings out the best in them. Every day throughout the month, you will see kids and devotees inside the church praying and sharing homemade pre-packed goods.

(Video) iLumen - Flores de Mayo

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (3)

If you are lucky, you will get to have a free snack given by Hermanos or Hermana roaming around the church. It is a Spanish term given to the sponsors who facilitate or manage the holy celebration. They are also the ones who provide prizes for activities and competitions in the community. Some games that most Filipinos are fond of are coconut grabbing, pig grabbing, and a marathon. Find yourself a home in Camella Homes and enjoy some of these leisure activities with friends and families.

Participate in the Grandeur Procession of Santacruzan

Flores de Mayo is different from Santacruzan. The latter is only a part of the whole celebration, but it is the pinnacle of the said festival. It is a grand procession that is meant to re-enact the quest of St. Helena to find the sacred cross, which makes her the main character of the grand parade. It consists of 19 Biblical figures and 21 Marian titles, and they are arranged based on a standard order and roles.

The festival of the Holy Cross is conducted on the last Sunday of May, which starts and ends at the town’s church. It is an outlandish parade that collates fine young women to participate in representing Marian titles. It is usually formed by a group of talented dancers and musicians. The brass band or a local Filipino stringed band called Rondalla will play Dios Te Salve or the Spanish version of Hail Mary.

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (4)

After that, devotees will be next to the line while holding a lit candle and singing the hymns of praise. The biblical figures and the Marian titles will then be organized in a specific manner. The boys or escorts are customary to wear Barong Tagalog, whereas women are expected to wear any Filipina-inspired gowns or dresses. Arches that frame the Reynas are also colorfully decorated with paper flowers and crepes.

(Video) Filipinos Abroad Celebrating Flores de Mayo

Volunteers will bring the hand-carried bamboo arcs. There’s no need to worry because this procession will be closed by an evening mass, and the town’s mayor will provide food for all. If you are wondering how what is the general order of the procession, they are as follows:

  1. The Biblical / Allegorical Figures:
Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (5)

Aside from the much-awaited list of reynas, there are also biblical figures that are positioned in the first section of the parade. They play a vital role in this process as they are

  1. Methuselah – a person who will portray this figure shall act like an old bearded man who cooks a grain of sand in a hot pan. It plays a significant role in the procession as it reminds us that we all came from dust and we will go back to it.
  1. Reyna Banderada – a long red dress is the main point of this figure. A young lady who will partake in this role shall bear a yellow pennant that will constitute the arrival of the Christian faith.
  1. Samaritana – a young girl or a woman can take this critical role that symbolizes salvation. In the bible, an outcasted woman received redemption from the Lord when she encountered Jesus in Jacob’s well. Therefore, she will carry a jug of water on her shoulder. It has a vital role in the parade as it reminds people that we are all worthy of the love of the Lord.
  1. Veronica – another essential role in this parade will be taken up by a young woman who will bear a veil. It will represent the woman who wiped the face of Jesus that left a three-blood imprint.
  1. Aeta – a tribal tattoo, a hair braid, or patterned clothes can be used to represent this ethnic group. Those who will portray the Aetas should know that they are the kind of people who undoubtedly believed in God and embraced the Christian faith. They can use some dark paint on the skin to better illustrate it.
  1. The Marian Titles / Reynas or Queens:
Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (6)

The highlight of the procession is the Reynas or queens with corresponding titles. The size of a community determines the number of Reynas who can participate in the parade. The Reynas could go up to 20 and more for large provinces or cities. Nonetheless, the crucial figures or titles that should not go off the list are:

  1. Reyna Fe – a fine young woman who will take the role of Reyna Fe shall carry across to signify the first theological virtue of faith.
  1. The Reyna Esperanza – carrying an anchor is crucial in this role because Reyna Esperanza symbolizes hope – a second theological virtue.
  1. Reyna Caridad – a red heart is much needed to effectively portray Reyna Caridad’s role. She is a symbol of charity (the third theological virtue); that is why it shall not lose its red heart.
  1. Reyna Sentenciada – a young woman shall have her hands tied with a rope as she will depict the convicted Queen. She represents all early Christians who Romans unmercifully persecute because of their faith. During the procession, she will be guarded by two Roman soldiers on both sides.
  1. Divina Pastora – the item that needs to be brought by someone who will take the role of Divina Pastora is a shepherd’s staff or crook.
  1. Reyna Mistica – a bouquet of flowers is brought by someone who will play the role of Reyna Mistica
  1. The Reyna de las Flores – she is the Queen of the Flores de Mayo. She will carry a grand bouquet of flowers.
  1. Reyna Emperatriz – this role is the mere representation of Queen Helena’s title she received from Constantinople. It is a title that signifies her role as an Empress or Queen Mother.
  1. Reyna Elena – the most beautiful and well-respected lady in the community, will take the prestigious role of portraying St. Helena. She is the highlight and the last member of the parade that remains a secret until the day of the Santacruzan itself. Filipinos love surprises, so they find it amusing to keep the person’s identity until it’s time for the people to watch the parade. Of course, she will be accompanied by a small boy dressed as a little Constantine – the first Christian emperor in Rome.

The True Essence of the Month-long Celebration of Flores de Mayo

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (7)

The true essence of Flores de Mayo is often wrongfully associated with the notion that it is just processional pageantry. Over the years, parish priests have raised awareness that Flores de Mayo is not just about the beauty pageant. It is not to test who is the most beautiful lady worthy of the title.

(Video) Five reasons flores de mayo my best celebration in the Philippines

Instead, Flores de Mayo is a re-enactment of the Christian faith. It intends to show Christianity’s history and proof of Filipinos’ undying love, faith, and devotion. It is an annual festival that gives food to the body and soul.

Therefore, children should start participating at a young age to help them be reminded of the holiness of this spiritual celebration. The sanctity of this holy celebration shall not lose its goal of reminding Filipinos that they are loved and worthy.

Have a Glamorous Lifestyle in Camella Homes

Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines (8)

Buying yourself a house and lot unit in Camella Homes can make you feel closer to your Filipino roots. When the flowers bloom in May, and you reside in any of its house models, you can enjoy visiting the nearby churches and joining its grandeur parade known as Santacruz.

Camella is a housing development that can give you a lifestyle as glamorous as the month-long festival. It is a highly guarded community with secured entrances and installed CCTVs. It is also packed with amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, playground, jogging paths, and green open spaces. Since Camella Homes is an extensive housing development that spans more than 147 communities, you can never run out of options.

(Video) First time to have Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo here in our community

You can live in provinces where the most-awaited festivals happen. Camella Bogo, Camella Aklan, and Camella Savannah are just some of the places you can prize yourself with a house. You will be filled with cheers and excitement when you get closer to these colorful festivals. Visit the official website of Camella or click here.

You can find various house models that can cater to any Filipino preference.

FAQs

Why is Flores de Mayo festival celebrated? ›

The procession itself commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Reyna Elena and her son, Emperor Constantine. It is said to have roots in the joyous thanksgiving celebrations that followed the finding of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and its translation to Constantinople (now İstanbul).

Where is Flores de Mayo celebrated in the Philippines? ›

The festival started in Bulacan in 1867 after Mariano Sevilla published his translation of the Spanish devotional literature of the Flores de Maria. Since then, it is observed throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

What is Flores de Mayo festival? ›

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 .

Who introduced Flores de Mayo in the Philippines? ›

Introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards in the 1800s and was believed to be first witnessed in Bulacan in 1865, it is dubbed as the “Queen of Philippine Festivals." There are many ways to celebrate the festival - the most popular being the Santacruzan held usually on the last day of the month.

Is it significant to identify the festivals we have in the Philippines and why? ›

Q: Why festivals are celebrated in the Philippines? A: Philippine festivals are way to promote each province's patron saint or most known products. For religious festival in the Philippines, Filipinos express their gratitude to the patron saints for bountiful blessings.

Why it is called Flores de Mayo? ›

In the late 18th century the Roman Catholic Church set aside the month of May to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. The religious ceremonies held in honor of the Virgin in El Salvador during this month are called Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May), probably because there are so many wildflowers in bloom at this time of year.

In what city is flower parade celebrated annually? ›

Panagbenga is an annual flower festival celebrated every February which takes place in Baguio City, Philippines. The term “Panagbenga” comes from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming”.

How is Santacruzan celebrated? ›

In the Santacruzan, chosen young ladies with their respective escorts by their side, parade on the streets under arches colorfully decorated and designed with May flowers. Each lady is dressed in an elaborate gown suited to the Queen that she portrays.

What festival that celebrate the farmer's bestfriend? ›

CARABAO FESTIVAL -- This is held on the feast day of San Isidro on May 15th in the farming towns of San Isidro (Nueva Ecija); Pulilan (Bulacan); and Angono (Rizal). On this day, the three towns pay homage to the beast of burden which is the farmer's best friend – the lowly carabao.

What is the blooming flower festival that is celebrated in Baguio? ›

Panagbenga is an annual flower festival celebrated every February which takes place in Baguio City, Philippines. The term “Panagbenga” comes from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming”. This festival reflects the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras.

Does Philippines celebrate Cinco de Mayo? ›

Through the years, the day became more than just an observance of their victory but a celebration of the Mexican culture, cuisine, and heritage all over the world, and that includes the Philippines.

What religious festival is celebrated in Kalibo Aklan? ›

The Ati-Atihan festival is a Philippine festival held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño (Holy Child or Infant Jesus) in several towns of the province of Aklan, Panay Island. The biggest celebration is held during the third Sunday of January in the town of Kalibo, the province's capital.

What is the significance of Santacruzan to the lives of Filipinos? ›

Santacruzan, a pinnacle of the month-long festival, can be described as a sort of religio-historical beauty pageant. It is held to commemorate the discovery of the Holy Cross which, as believed, was made by Saint Helena and her son Constantine who became the first Christian Roman Emperor.

Why do we honor Mary? ›

She is the first and most perfect disciple. Mary was the first to hear the Good News, and the first to follow Christ. Her entire life was devoted to him and assisting him, in whatever way she could, to carry on his mission. Unaffected by Original Sin, she was able to perfectly open herself to God's will.

What is the importance of celebrating festivals in the different places in the country? ›

Festivals are an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions. They are meant to rejoice special moments and emotions in our lives with our loved ones. They play an important role to add structure to our social lives, and connect us with our families and backgrounds.

How important is the festival celebration in a certain community? ›

Festivals contribute immensely to feelings of social cohesion. Many such celebrations focus on cultural or ethnic topics and seek to inform community members of their traditions. They involve community elders sharing stories and experiences; setting templates for maintaining unity among families.

Why do we need to celebrate fiestas and festivals? ›

Fiestas are important events because they merge and nurture culture, history, family relationships and camaraderie, and also introduce us to new acquaintances. We pray that the tradition of celebrating fiestas in honor of our patron saints will not be relegated to an urban legend in the future.

What is the non religious festival in the Philippines? ›

KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL

It is a celebration of Good Harvest! This globally famous festival is a weeklong celebration and thanksgiving for nature's bountiful harvest. Kadayawan Festival is being celebrated every 3rd Week of August.

What is the longest festivals in the Philippines? ›

Panagbenga Festival

Panagbenga or the Season of Blooming is one of the longest Philippine festivals, observed during the entire month of February in Baguio.

What can you say about Aswang festival? ›

Aswang Festival is a culturally significant celebration in Roxas City, planned to change the negative meaning connected to the territory prominently called space of aswang by transforming the creature into Capiz' chief fascination.

Which of the following is known as the mother of all festivals in the Philippines? ›

"Nicknamed “the Mother of all Philippine Festivals,” Ati-Atihan is a festival of tribal dance, indigenous costumes, music, and parades, all in honor of the Santo Niño, or Baby Jesus.

Who proposed the idea of organizing a flower festival in Baguio? ›

In 1995 when Atty. Damaso E. Bangaoet, Jr., proposed the idea of organizing a flower festival to be held in February to the directors of the John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation, his suggestion received their immediate approval.

What makes Baguio city a tourist spot during the whole month of February? ›

That's why people make the long road trip to Baguio from Manila to escape the stifling heat of the lowlands and polluted cities in the metro. Another reason tourists travel to the City of Pines is the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga Festival. It is an annual flower festival in Baguio celebrated every February.

Is Santacruzan festival religious or non religious? ›

The Santacruzan is a religious-historical parade that started in the mid-1800s, with the first being held in Malolos, Bulacan. It is held in honor of Queen Helena of Constantinople and her son, Constantine the Great, finding the True Cross: the cross that's said to be the one upon which Jesus was crucified.

What is the term used for hosting or managing a Santacruzan? ›

Hermana. The term used for hosting or managing a santacruzan. Folk song. One of the vocal traditional music of the filipino people.

Which of the following is a non religious festival that is celebrated in the province of Camiguin? ›

LANZONES FESTIVAL | CAMIGUIN

Camiguin celebrates its Lanzones Festivity on October as a way of celebrating the gift of Lanzones tree.

How would you describe the festival in the Philippines? ›

A festival or commonly known as a “Fiesta” is part of the Filipino culture. Each city or province has a local fiesta. Being a very religious centered country, a fiesta is commonly about the celebration of a city or province's patron saint or of harvest. There is a fiesta going on at any time in the Philippines.

What is the most preferred dance festival in the Philippines? ›

Sinulog in Cebu is the biggest festival in the Philippines, celebrating the feast of the Child Jesus, Santo Niño de Cebú, with a dance ritual to the beat of the drums. Held every third Sunday of January, it is the largest and most attended fiesta in the country with an all-day-long parade and party.

What makes Philippine festival unique? ›

Philippine festivals are town fiestas celebrating moments in history that defined identity, polity and locality. Celebration of the arts and culture, albeit made central to these festivities, only comes as a texture instead of text in the whole exercise of the Festival.

What is the blooming flower festival that is celebrated in Baguio? ›

Panagbenga is an annual flower festival celebrated every February which takes place in Baguio City, Philippines. The term “Panagbenga” comes from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming”. This festival reflects the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras.

What festival that celebrate the farmer's bestfriend? ›

CARABAO FESTIVAL -- This is held on the feast day of San Isidro on May 15th in the farming towns of San Isidro (Nueva Ecija); Pulilan (Bulacan); and Angono (Rizal). On this day, the three towns pay homage to the beast of burden which is the farmer's best friend – the lowly carabao.

What religious festival is celebrated in Kalibo Aklan? ›

The Ati-Atihan festival is a Philippine festival held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño (Holy Child or Infant Jesus) in several towns of the province of Aklan, Panay Island. The biggest celebration is held during the third Sunday of January in the town of Kalibo, the province's capital.

What festival is entitled the city of smile? ›

MANILA -- Bacolod is widely known for its "City of Smiles" tag, which came after the success of the first MassKara Festival in 1980. But unknown to some, especially the younger generation, the colorful festival was created as a diversion from the series of tragedies experienced by the Negrenses two decades ago.

What do you call the famous flower festival in Baguio City? ›

Panagbenga is an annual flower festival celebrated every February which takes place in Baguio City, Philippines. The term “Panagbenga” comes from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming”.

What is the important symbol in Panagbenga Festival? ›

The Festival as A Symbol

The flower show at the Panagbenga is characterized by the season flowers growing in the summer capital of the Philippines known also as the "City of Pines".

What festival is said to be one of the most authentic ethnic festival in the Philippines? ›

It is the only authentic ethnic festival in the Philippines. Kaamulan comes from the Binukid word “amul” meaning to gather. Kaamulan is gathering for a purpose—a datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a thanksgiving festival during harvest time, a peace pact, or all of these together.

How would you describe the festival in the Philippines? ›

A festival or commonly known as a “Fiesta” is part of the Filipino culture. Each city or province has a local fiesta. Being a very religious centered country, a fiesta is commonly about the celebration of a city or province's patron saint or of harvest. There is a fiesta going on at any time in the Philippines.

What is the most preferred dance festival in the Philippines? ›

Sinulog in Cebu is the biggest festival in the Philippines, celebrating the feast of the Child Jesus, Santo Niño de Cebú, with a dance ritual to the beat of the drums. Held every third Sunday of January, it is the largest and most attended fiesta in the country with an all-day-long parade and party.

What makes Philippine festival unique? ›

Philippine festivals are town fiestas celebrating moments in history that defined identity, polity and locality. Celebration of the arts and culture, albeit made central to these festivities, only comes as a texture instead of text in the whole exercise of the Festival.

What is Aklan known for? ›

Aklan is most famous for Boracay, a resort island one kilometer north from the tip of Panay. It is known for its white sandy beaches and is considered as one of the more prominent destinations in the country.

What is the most popular most colorful and fun filled festival in Kalibo Aklan? ›

Q: How is Ati Atihan Festival celebrated? A: Dubbed as the mother of all Philippine festivals, Ati-Atihan in Kalibo is among the biggest, colorful, and festive celebrations in honor of Santo Niño. It is also celebrated by the rhythmic beating of drums and traditional street dancing in January.

What is Kalibo Aklan known for? ›

Kalibo is a first-class municipality and capital of the province of Aklan, the Philippines' oldest province. As the capital, Kalibo is situated at the center of tourism and trade activities: from being the gateway to Boracay Island to welcoming devotees and travelers to join the Ati-Atihan festival every January.

What is the importance of festival in our country? ›

Festivals are an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions. They are meant to rejoice special moments and emotions in our lives with our loved ones. They play an important role to add structure to our social lives, and connect us with our families and backgrounds.

What is the mother of all festival in the Philippines? ›

"Nicknamed “the Mother of all Philippine Festivals,” Ati-Atihan is a festival of tribal dance, indigenous costumes, music, and parades, all in honor of the Santo Niño, or Baby Jesus.

What is the place in the Philippines known as City of smile? ›

Experience the Colorful and Vibrant Festival!

One of the biggest festivals in the Philippines is the popular festival being celebrated in Bacolod. One of the few reasons why Bacolod is known as the City of Smiles is because of the MassKara Festival.

Videos

1. 2022 Int'l Flores de Mayo Festival and Conference. Plenary Session 1: Floral Traditions in Manila
(The Faura Project)
2. Flores De mayo | Abby's first SAGALA | AthomewithNobz
(At home with Nobz)
3. Flores de Mayo (Filipino Tradition )
(Bella vita Channel)
4. Flores de Mayo/ May festival in the Philippines/05232020
(RECHIE and SPERO ADVENTURES)
5. Opening Program of the 2022 International Flores de Mayo Festival and Conference
(The Faura Project)
6. SMA Fathers: First Annual Filipino and Flores De Mayo Festival 05/05/2012 (1/2)
(SMA Fathers)
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