Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flores De Mayo - Sagala - Santacruzan

How time flies! It's already May. I'm reminiscing that I started to blog back in May 2010. Blogging is four years old for me this month, although most of my old posts have been denationalized by yours truly due to personal reasons. Anyways, that's not the only thing I remember when the month of May arrives. The famous Cinco De Mayo is another. Since it falls on a Monday, I'm pretty sure the celebrations will happen this coming weekend. But, that's not what I'm going to write about. I'm actually recalling a celebration done back home, the Philippines' Flores De Mayo (Spanish for Flowers of May) or Sagala / Santacruzan (refers to the pageant on the last day of Flores De Mayo). Click on the link for Flores De Mayo to see photos.

Flores De Mayo lasts for the whole month of May. Different towns hold a procession at night that parades different colorful flowers, different religious statues from churches, evening gowns/tiaras and Barong Tagalog (National suit/clothing for Filipino men). The parade originated from a religious purpose, also called Flowers of Mary. The Virgin Mary is celebrated the whole month of May and novenas are done before the start of a procession. However, in my personal point of view, the whole occasion became all about the Sagala, or the religio-historical beauty pageant parade. Everybody's more concerned about having the most beautiful evening gown, make-up, and expensive jewelries. A feast for the paparazzi!

I've been in several of those Sagalas when I was a little girl. (Yes, little girls are involved in this. There are different categories: the little girls, the teens, and the adults.) The whole procession was a traffic-starter. No cars were allowed in our small town's skinny streets. People occupied the sides of the road to ogle, to gossip, to take photos, to cheer, to criticize, to catch candies thrown by participants, and just to be outside. I've been in both: on the float as a participant, and on the side as a spectator. It was way better to be on the float than to be on the side of the road (By the way, not every participant is on a float. Some walk with an arch on top of them.) People stepped on my feet without apologizing. In fact, they didn't care if my toes died from their stomping feet. They only cared about catching candies from the float. It's probably not that bad, but I decided that I didn't like to be in that situation anymore. Still, it doesn't mean the whole event is not fun. It's a colorful tradition, I just have to be standing on a safer place. **laughs**

The float was a safer place, eventhough it was made-in-a-hurry out of thin wooden boards and wrapped around and on top of an owner jeep. Everybody looked up on me while I seated in the middle of the colorful flowery decorations. My glittery gloved hand waved to everyone and sometimes threw candies to the spectators. It felt like Princess Diana in humid weather! **laughs** That was way better than being trampled by total strangers on the side of the road, by the way. I would have had broken fingers trying to catch one piece of candy, too. **cringe**

I tried searching online to find Flores De Mayo festivals here in the Bay Area, but I couldn't find anything. Cinco De Mayo is the famous occasion of the month. Then there are different festivals or celebration of sorts: Maker Faire, Renaissance Faire, Film Festival, Bike-To-Work Day, Memorial Day, and even a Broccoli City Festival. Flores De Mayo / Santacruzan / Sagala is probably not that known or popular. I have to consider the fact that there aren't a lot of religious die-hard Catholics here that would go all out and have permits to close streets for a Sagala. But, who knows? Maybe one day, someone would initiate a bold move of bringing this famous Filipino tradition here in California.

Would you be on the float or the spectator? Just throw a bag of candy my way. **giggles**


  1. OMG the entire way through this post I was reading that they were throwing 'candles'. I was sitting here going, 'wow, candles, that's unusual...' Only at the end when you said, 'bag of candy' did I re-read and find my mistake. lol That sounds like a lovely parade and tradition. But you are right, there aren't a lot of hardcore Catholics I think anymore. I'm still not sure why the USA has embraced Cinco de Mayo when it's not even celebrated that much in Mexico.

    1. Most of our street parades in the Philippines are all about a religious celebration of some sort.

      Sorry about the candle thing. I guess the font wasn't that good. HeHe.


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