Every afternoon after taking a nap, me and some other neighborhood kids would go out and pick flowers from our neighbors’ backyard or garden. After picking up beautiful flowers, we would go to our Aglipayan church for a novena to Mama Mary. After the prayer, we would offer the flowers we had picked to Jesus’ mom. We were always delighted by the prettiness of the flowers each churchgoer brought. They came in different sizes, in different colors, and in different blooms. And this activity is what we call as Flores de Mayo or Flowers of May.
Aside from the novena and offering of flowers, Flores de Mayo also conducts small religious classes. Me and my friends would gather around a catechist who taught us some prayers and other church doctrines. After our lesson, sumptuous refreshments were being served to us in which we enjoy eating for free! Then we would go out again to play until our hearts’ content!
In culmination of Flores de Mayo by the end of May, Santa Cruzan is being held. It is a sagala or procession of beauties showcasing the most handsome and the prettiest in town. It depicts the finding of the relic of the true cross in which Jesus died in Jerusalem by Queen Helena and bringing it back to her place in Constantinople.
In the sagala, there are biblical characters and traditional personifications like Methuselah, Cleopatra, and Veronica. Aside from them, there are also Marian titles like Reyna Candelaria (Queen of Candles), Reyna de los Santos (Queen of Saints), and Reyna del Cielo (Queen of Heaven). And last but not the least is the Reyna Elena escorted by a little boy, Constantino. Reyna Elena is the bearer of the cross representing Helena of Constantinople and Constantino represents Constantine the Great, her son.
Apart from the two important personas of the sagala, there are also the Hermano and Hermana Mayor who are the couple hosting and organizing the sagala and other fiesta activities. They must be one of the wealthiest in the community because traditionally, the townspeople would go to their house for a lucrative feast.
As a kikay girl, I am so glad to have had experienced being a part of a sagala. I had walked into being one of the queens not just once but twice! At four years old, I was Reyna Banderada.
Looking back into this very memorable experience, I thank my mom for the effort in allowing me to join such sagalas because not all children had gone through what I did. Hopefully, the modern Roman Catholic and Aglipayan churches nowadays will not lose this tradition because this is one of the most sacred Filipino cultures. The sagala must be held without taking for granted its real essence because in history, this procession started the spread of Christianity. Just like me, I hope all young girls would be educated in such a fact because walking in the processions is indeed a walk to remember!