Getting to Know Flores de Mayo: How and Why It Is Celebrated in the Philippines

The month of May has now begun. It is an exceptional month when the fragrance of assorted flowers floats in the air. It is when everyone remembers its name because of its connection to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the blooming flowers.

A perfect moment when the land teems with bountiful blooms under the delicate blue sky. It is also when everyone wants to plan their summer vacation, dive into a cold pool, or find summer beach getaways.

Santacruzan during Flores de Mayo Festival | Image source:

Mother’s Day is also part of this extraordinary month – a perfect choice of time as it is also a Marian month. Setting aside all these, there is more to May than what is on its surface. Religious events are bound to unfold when the month of May arrives.

This month also marks when Filipinos refresh the history of Christianity, the sacredness of Jesus Christ, and the legendary quest of St. Helena to find the Holy Cross. Get to know more about this well-celebrated festival through this blog.

Introducing Flores De Mayo – The Queen Of Philippine Festivals 

One of the most celebrated Christian festivals in the Philippines is Flores de Mayo or Flores de Maria. It is a Spanish term that translates to ‘Flowers of May.’

How did Flores de Mayo Start in the Philippines?

Spanish conquistadors and friars introduced it in the mid-1800s. It is a tribute to the Virgin Mary, who gives rain when farmers ask for it, and the celebration for it represents the farmers’ unwavering gratitude. Stories say it makes various flowers bloom and grow new crops for food. It has been practiced for hundreds of years, but we still observe them today.

It is widely celebrated throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Furthermore, it is gaining further recognition abroad, such as in Europe and America, because of the Filipino immigrants who brought it with them.

What are the Traces of Flores de Mayo in Philippine history?

Symbolizing the country’s colorful history and culture

This forming giant of culture has long been engraved in the hearts of Filipino Catholics. It symbolizes the country’s history and culture – a trademark that should never lose its true essence. For a bit of a background on its history, this month-long holy rite began right after the dogma of Immaculate Conception was proclaimed in 1854.

It became even more popular after the published interpretation of Mariano Sevilla’s Flores de Maria. His book ‘Mariquite na Bulaklak sa Pagninilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto Cay Maria Santisima’ gained popularity and spread its influence nationwide. In 1867, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan were officially observed in Malolos, Bulacan.

It has been dubbed the ‘Queen of Philippine Festivals’ as it is celebrated for the entire month of May and is the most-anticipated festival in the country. In Filipino tradition, they make this moment colorful, magical, and pleasing. The practice follows an order of gathering the town folks during the afternoon.

People are expected to give daily prayers, recite the holy rosary, and offer flowers. The assorted flowers will be offered to the Virgin Mary before the altar. It will be collected until the grand procession occurs at the month’s end. You can sense the scent of May through the flowers when you enter the church.

Foreigners who witness this opulent festival for the first time realize how Filipinos strongly value Catholicism, which is observable through their overflowing faith.

Flores de Mayo: A Tradition Passed Down for Generations

On the other hand, Flores de Mayo is more prevalent in the provinces. You can visit any region, such as Cebu, Ilocos Norte, and Panay. It will be less hassle if you have a house and lot to go home to. When you arrive in the province, you will be amazed at how this celebration brings townspeople together and brings out the best in them. Every day throughout the month, you will see kids and devotees inside the church praying and sharing homemade pre-packed goods.

If lucky, you will receive free snacks from Hermanos or Hermana roaming around the church. Hermanos and Hermana are Spanish terms for sponsors facilitating or managing the holy celebration. They are also the ones who provide prizes for activities and competitions in the community. Some games that most Filipinos are fond of are coconut grabbing, pig grabbing, and a marathon. 

Participate in the Grand Procession of Santacruzan  

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A re-enactment of St. Helena’s quest to find the true cross

Flores de Mayo is different from Santacruzan. The latter is only a part of the whole celebration, but it is the pinnacle of the said festival. Santacruzan is a grand procession meant to re-enact St. Helena’s quest to find the sacred cross, the true cross, making her the grand parade’s main character. It consists of 19 Biblical figures and 21 Marian titles, arranged based on a standard order and roles.

Parade of women representing Marian titles

The festival of the Holy Cross is conducted on the last Sunday of May, which starts and ends at the town’s church. It is an outlandish parade that collates fine young women to participate in representing Marian titles. A group of talented dancers and musicians usually forms it. The brass band or a local Filipino stringed band called Rondalla will play Dios Te Salve or the Spanish version of Hail Mary (Ave Maria).

After that, devotees will be next in line while holding a lit candle and singing the hymns of praise. The biblical figures and the Marian titles will then be organized specifically. The boys or escorts are customary to wear Barong Tagalog, whereas women are expected to wear any Filipina-inspired gowns or dresses. Arches that frame the Reynas are also colorfully decorated with paper flowers and crepes.

Volunteers will bring the hand-carried bamboo arcs. There’s no need to worry because this procession will be closed by an evening mass, and the town’s mayor will provide food for all. If you are wondering how or what is the general order of the procession, they are as follows:

The Biblical / Allegorical Figures:  

Aside from the much-awaited list of reynas, biblical figures are also positioned in the parade’s first section. They play a vital role in this process as they are:


A person portraying this figure shall act like an old bearded man who cooks a grain of sand in a hot pan. It plays a significant role in the procession as it reminds us that we all came from dust and we will go back to it.  

Reyna Banderada

A long red dress is the main point of this figure. A young lady who will partake in this role shall bear a yellow pennant that will constitute the arrival of the Christian faith.  


A young girl or a woman can take this critical role, symbolizing salvation. In the bible, an outcasted woman received redemption from the Lord when she encountered Jesus in Jacob’s well. Therefore, she will carry a jug of water on her shoulder. It has a vital role in the parade as it reminds people that we are all worthy of the love of the Lord.  


Another essential role in this parade will be taken up by a young woman bearing a veil. It will represent the woman who wiped the face of Jesus and left a three-blood imprint. 


A tribal tattoo, a hair braid, or patterned clothes can be used to represent this ethnic group. Those who will portray the Aetas should know they are people who undoubtedly believed in God and embraced the Christian faith. They can use some dark paint on the skin to better illustrate it.  

The Marian Titles / Reynas or Queens:  

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The highlight of the procession is the Reynas or queens with corresponding titles. The size of a community determines the number of Reynas who can participate in the parade. The Reynas could go up to 20 or more for large provinces or cities. Nonetheless, the crucial figures or titles that should not go off the list are:  

Reyna Fe

A fine young woman who will take the role of Reyna Fe shall carry a cross to signify the first theological virtue of faith.  

The Reyna Esperanza

Carrying an anchor is crucial in this role because Reyna Esperanza symbolizes hope – a second theological virtue.  

Reyna Caridad

A red heart is much needed to portray Reyna Caridad’s role effectively. She is a symbol of charity (the third theological virtue), so it shall not lose its red heart.  

Reyna Sentenciada

A young woman shall have her hands tied with a rope as she will depict the convicted Queen. She represents all early Christians who Romans unmercifully persecuted because of their faith. During the procession, she will be guarded by two Roman soldiers on both sides.  

Divina Pastora

The item that needs to be brought by someone who will take the role of Divina Pastora is a shepherd’s staff or crook.  

Reyna Mistica

A bouquet is brought by someone who will play the role of Reyna Mistica 

The Reyna de las Flores

She is the Queen of the Flores de Mayo. She will carry a grand bouquet.  

Reyna Emperatriz

This role merely represents Queen Helena’s title, which she received from Constantinople. The title signifies her role as an Empress or Queen Mother.  

Reyna Elena

The community’s most beautiful and well-respected lady will take the prestigious role of portraying St. Helena. She is the highlight and the last parade member who remains a secret until the day of the Santacruzan.

Filipinos love surprises, so they find it amusing to keep the person’s identity until it’s time for the people to watch the parade. Of course, she will be accompanied by a small boy dressed as a little Constantine – the first Christian emperor in Rome.

Other Marian Titles

Beyond the captivating figures above, the Queens of Santacruzan also feature Reyna ng Saba, Reyna de los Confesores, Reyna de los Martires, Reyna de los Apostoles, Reyna de los Patriarcas, Reyna Mora, Reyna Judith, and Reyna Ester.

The True Essence of the Month-long Celebration of Flores de Mayo  

Showcasing Christianity’s history and proof of Filipinos’ undying love, faith, and devotion

The true essence of Flores de Mayo is often wrongfully associated with the notion that it is just processional pageantry. Over the years, parish priests have raised awareness that Flores de Mayo is not just about the beauty pageant. It is not to test who the most beautiful lady worthy of the title is.

Instead, Flores de Mayo is a re-enactment of the Christian faith. It intends to show Christianity’s history and proof of Filipinos’ undying love, faith, and devotion. It is an annual festival that gives food to the body and soul.

Therefore, children should start participating at a young age to help them be reminded of the holiness of this spiritual celebration. The sanctity of this holy celebration shall maintain its goal of reminding Filipinos that they are loved and worthy.  

Have a Glamorous Lifestyle in Camella Homes  

House and Lot for Sale in Sorsogon | Camella Sorsogon
House and Lot for Sale in Sorsogon | Camella Sorsogon

Buying a house and lot unit in Camella can make you feel closer to your Filipino roots. When the flowers bloom in May, and you reside in any of its house models, you can enjoy visiting nearby churches and joining its grandeur parade, Santacruz.

Camella is a housing development that can give you a lifestyle as glamorous as the month-long festival. It is a highly guarded community with secured entrances and installed CCTVs. It also has amenities like a clubhouse, swimming pool, playground, jogging paths, and green open spaces. Since Camella Homes is an extensive housing development spanning more than 147 communities, you can always have options.

You can live in provinces where the most-awaited festivals happen. Camella Bogo, Camella Aklan, and Camella Savannah are just some places to prize yourself with a house. You will be filled with cheers and excitement when you get closer to these colorful festivals.

You can find various house models that can cater to any Filipino preference. 

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