A Flores de Mayo experience-A A +A
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
THE month of May is perhaps one of the merriest months for Filipinos since it is the season of colorful festivals and Flores de Mayo or Santacruzan is one of the most awaited festivals during this month.
May is also the time of the year when our country is in dry spell though this is also the time when we can enjoy watching a variety of flowers in bloom while the kids also enjoy their vacation.
At the start of May, flowers are visible everywhere which also signals the start of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) while Santacruzan is celebrated at the end of May, which is considered to be the Queen of Filipino Festivals where beautiful ladies are chosen to participate in a colorful procession.
Many towns celebrate Flores de Mayo as residents gather flowers in different colors to decorate the church altars and aisles for a daily afternoon community congregation of praying the Rosary and singing.
The end of the month, which is May 31, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the virgin mother of Christ. And it has become a tradition that Catholics pay tribute to Mother Mary in the virginal virtues of Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan.
Some big cities no longer practice Flores de Mayo but other towns, particularly in Bohol, are still into this celebration. Children and adults would dutifully go to their parochial church in their best dress and do a lot of singing to welcome the rains that will water the new crops.
I may not be a Catholic but I really appreciate how fiestas, especially the Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan, are celebrated in Bohol during my stay there.
Bol-anons or Boholano, as what they call themselves, are very religious. Most of their fiesta celebrations fall in the month of May. No wonder ferry boats are fully booked during this time of the year as most Bol-anons who are working in other areas would always save this time of the year to go home and celebrate their fiesta.
The place where I stayed in Bohol has its fiesta celebration on May 15 in honor of San Isidro Labrador. The residents would always prepare for a year while waiting for the big event.
After the fiesta, the village chief would then assign committees to organize for the next year’s fiesta celebration.
It is so amazing how devoted they are to their saints. In fact, for the whole year, they would prefer to eat ordinary meal to save for a grand celebration during their town’s fiesta.
The celebration of Flores de Mayo, on the other hand, is done mostly by offering flowers. Since my in-laws are devout Catholics, I also observe their religion by religiously picking flowers everyday and place it in a basket for my children to bring in the afternoon at the church.
After their afternoon nap, we prepare ourselves to head to the church along with other children.
When the mass ends, the children will then march to the center with flowers on hand.
As the children march down the aisle, they sprinkle the fragrant petals for Mama Mary. This custom is called “Alay sa Birhen.” Because it is an offering (alay) to the virgin (birhen) Mary, the youngsters sing hymns to Lady Immaculate and leave their bouquet of flowers loose and dethroned.
It was indeed a wonderful experience for my children that once in their life in Bohol, they have participated in this glorious event.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 10, 2012.