Santacruzan & Flores De Mayo On May 27

May 22, 2018

Flores de Mayo Bermuda May 2018The Filipino community in Bermuda will celebrate two popular festivals from the Philippines on May 27, including Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan, and everyone is invited to attend.

A spokesperson said, “This Sunday, May 27th, the Filipino community in Bermuda will celebrate two popular festivals from the Philippines – Flores de Mayo [Flowers of May] and Santacruzan [after ‘Santa Cruz,’ or the Holy Cross], both being celebrated together in the month of May by Filipino Catholics.

“Flores de Mayo is a Catholic flower festival in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. This feast is marked with the offering of flowers [which abundantly blooms in the month of May] to the Virgin Mary at the altar in the Church, every day for the whole month of May as a Marian devotion.

“Flores de Mayo then culminates with the Santacruzan Procession, which commemorates the finding of the True Cross [in which Jesus Christ was crucified] by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of Rome. This religious pageant includes a parade of decorated arch and elaborately dressed women [called ‘Reynas’ for ‘Queens, or ‘Sagalas’’], personifying significant women characters from the Old and New Testament, as well as some popular titles of Mary.

“The idea of bringing these beautiful traditions to Bermuda came about when Fr. Joseph Morley, Pastor at Stella Maris Parish, asked the Filipino Community through Couples for Christ & Family Ministries Bermuda [CFCFM Bermuda], what is the most famous festival from the Philippines, that everybody can relate, and can be shared with the Bermuda community.

“There are just too many festivals to choose from. The Philippines, an archipelago which is composed of 7,107 islands, has a number of colorful festivals, but being a dominantly catholic nation [81% as of 2012 census], Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan came first to mind, as both are celebrated in all parts of the country every May.”

George Alayon, Area Leader of CFCFM Bermuda, said, “And so here we are, doing this for the first time in Bermuda history, and sharing this tradition to the rest of the Catholic Community by reaching out to all Filipino groups in Bermuda; and with the support of Bishop Wesley Spievak, we were able to get representatives from each of the 6 Catholic Parishes in the island – St. Theresa’s, St. Michael’s, St. Anthony’s, St. Josephs, St. Patrick’s and Stella Maris Parish. Even though this is primarily a Filipino tradition, we want to involve everybody to have a more meaningful experience.”

“The celebration be on May 27th, starting at 1:15 pm inside St. Theresa’s Cathedral with a short program and a multi-lingual recitation of the Holy Rosary – in English, Tagalog, Visaya, Portuguese and Bengali. A colorful procession of the Reynas [‘Queens’] will then follow, with escorts holding arcs decorated with various flowers. The beautiful Reynas will be joined by the Catholic clergy and the congregation.

“The route of the procession is almost similar to the route used by the Portuguese community for Santo Cristo: from St. Theresa’s Cathedral, to Elliot Street, Washington Street, Dundonald Street, Woodlands Road, Canal Road, Laffan Street and back to the St. Theresa’s Cathedral. The public is therefore advised to consider this if they are planning to be in those areas between 1:30pm to 3:00pm on Sunday, as the roads will be closed around that time.

“People in attendance are encouraged to bring local flowers to offer to the Blessed Virgin Mary after the procession. There will be an entourage of the Reynas in the Cathedral with a brief description of what they each represent. Refreshments will then follow at the Cathedral Hall.

“Being around and in touch with varied realities has presented many challenges for me, but at the same time has widened and deepened my horizons particularly in the matters of faith. It has matured my vision of the world and of the Church as well.

“There were moments when I found myself confused, perhaps upset and not convinced. However, in time I became more aware that everything contributes to the enlargement of the paradigm through which I relate to the external world. Therefore, I strongly believe that adding Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan Festival would not only serve as a breath of fresh air to our religious routine, but also a way to express our respect and appreciation for the Filipino people living and working in Bermuda” Bishop Wes noted in an interview.

“The event has been organized by CFCFM, in collaboration with the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda [AFB], Club 2000, Filipino Sports Group, and all the Parishes of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton in Bermuda. The organizers mentioned that while the procession is religious in nature, this is open to all public to watch and participate, both religious or not.”

Ghenie Edwards, AFB President, said, “You don’t have to be religious to be able to appreciate beauty, art and celebrate the value and strength of womanhood, which is what this event is all about, as signified by the parade of the Sagalas, representing great women from history until the arrival of Mary, the Mother of Christ. The organizers expect this event to draw some public attention, locals and tourists alike.

“And so whether you are Catholic or not, a believer or agnostic, or just simply curious, you are welcome to have a peek, take some pictures and maybe join the community in fellowship after the program. Definitely something worth checking this weekend after the Bermuda Day celebrations.”

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