Friday, 04 May 2001
FLORES de MAYO
in Pagsanjan on May 27th
May is the best month of the year to visit Pagsanjan. To
feast-loving Pagsanjeños, it is the time
for merriment, romance, and music, the serenade songs, rising with melodic sweetness to the accompaniment of throbbing guitars or wailing violins.
Since the Spanish period, Pagsanjan has been famous for May time festivals, namely the Flores de Mayo (The Flowers of May),
and the Santacruzan (Festival of the Cross).
"sagalas" to join the Flores de Mayo. Short procession in the morning will start in Maulawin to the church for Thanksgiving Mass and then lunch will
be served at the Pagsanjan Rapids Hotel.
This year's May festivities for the Roman Catholic "Flores de Mayo" will be hosted by the Opelanio family. The over-all hermanos and hermanas are the
children of the late Anacleto Opelanio - a former Maulawin Barrio Captain,
and Emiteria Ranes. The following members of the Opelanio
The festivities for the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe is set on May 27, 2001. The Opelanio family are inviting
- Dionisio R. Opelanio
- Victoria Opelanio Calupig
- Dolores Opelanio Santos
- Bartolome R. Opelanio
- Family of deceased Rufina Opelanio Trinidad
- Librada Opelanio Ramos
- Aurea Opelanio Fernandez
- Laura Opelanio Buencamino
The highlight of the event for the Maytime festivals is the Santacruzan which will start at 4:00 P.M. procession from the Roman Catholic church and around the town (bayan) streets with the sagalas, hermanitas, hermanitos, committee, the carriage of the Virgin Mary and the Opelanio Family.
The Reyna Elena for the Flores de Mayo/Santacruzan is Clarissa Opelanio Trinidad, daughter of the late Rufina Opelanio and Cesar Trinidad.
Jennifer Opelanio Ramos, daughter of Rick and Lib Opelanio Ramos of San Diego, California USA, will join her parents on their visit to Pagsanjan. As she will be one of the "sagalas", she is excited to learn and experience the Filipino culture and traditions, especially her mother's hometown, Pagsanjan.
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MAY DEVOTIONS - I
By Betty Balatero
This festival and procession is a popular tradition
that on one hand is closely connected with the
May devotions, especially the Flores de Mayo
(some even consider it as "the climax of the
whole Flores de Maria"). On the other hand it is
connected with the feast of the Finding of the Cross,
formerly celebrated on May 3, now abolished in
the General Roman Calendar. Today it is in many
places unhappily more a presentation of movie stars
and beauty queens, a popular celebration but devoid
of religious meaning.
It is connected with the tradition that Empress Elena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, in the year 325 AD
found the true cross of the Lord in Jerusalem. The
legend says that she found three crosses. In order to
find the authentic cross of the Lord she had sick people
brought. When they touched one cross they were
healed, while touching the other two crosses nothing
happened. This was Elena's test of authenticity.
The feast of the Finding of the Cross (May 3)
became very popular and as a consequence the
whole month of May was devoted to the veneration
of the cross long before it became the month of
Mary. Many popular cross traditions and devotions
developed, some of them even existing today.
In the 12th century developed the tradition of
blessing crosses which the people took home
and planted into their gardens and fields as a
protection against stormy and inclement weather.
From May 3, the feast of the finding of the Cross,
until September 14,
the feast of the Triumph of
the cross, there was a special blessing given
at the end of the Mass with the relic of the Holy
Cross. This blessing was a petition for good
weather and a plentiful harvest.
The Spanish missionaries brought this popular
devotion to the Holy Cross from Europe to the
Philippines. In order to catechize the people
they introduced a dramatic presentation of the
finding of the cross in the form of a procession.
The Santa Cruzan was a medieval form of this
what we call today an audio-visual aid.
to present to the eyes of the people what really
was celebrated on May 3. And so Reyna Elena,
holding a crucifix, and accompanied by her son
Constantine, became a fixed important feature
in the Santacruzan procession.
Soon other Reynas
were added to the procession, some representing
attributes of the Virgin Mary.
Reyna Mistica, usually with a rose flower in her
hands, symbolized the title "Mystical Rose" of
the litany of Loreto; Reyna Justicia with a balance
and sword presented the title "Mirror of Justice";
Reyna de los Angeles surrounded by angels
showed the title "Queen of Angels." There were
also other Reynas portraying virtues: Reyna Fe,
Reyna Caridad, Reyna Esperanza. It seems
that the Santacruzan combined the old Cross
devotion (from the 12th century) with the later
Marian devotion (from the late 17th century). It
was in the beginning a procession in honor of
the Holy Cross (Santacruzan) with Empress
Elena as one of the main figures. From the
end of the 17th century on when the month
of May began to develop into a Marian month
also, the Santacruzan accepted more and
more Marian elements. The Marian dimension
of this procession was expressed also in the
fact that in former years the devotees were
encouraged to recite during the procession
the holy rosary.