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This year’s Santacruzan was held on May 21 at the Old Town Plaza. The Mass was held at the San Felipe de Neri Church. It was sponsored by the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM). The Cultural Show was sponsored by the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services.
In the Philippines, the month of May finds towns celebrating Santacruzan which is also known as Santa Cruz de Mayo or Flores de Mayo (May flowers) because May is the month when flowers of all kinds are blooming in the Philippines. For others, it is a religious celebration that commemorates St. Helen’s finding of the cross during the reign of her young son, King Constantine. Lore has it that the cross had been taken away from Christians by the infidels. A town’s celebration usually lasts nine consecutive evenings (as in a novena). On the ninth evening, the fiesta is held.
Since 1977 (or 39 years ago), this annual event, held at the Old Town Plaza, has been shared and witnessed by Albuquerque’s locals and tourists. It symbolizes the link between Filipinos and Hispanic New Mexicans who share many of the same traditions. The founders of this event in New Mexico were the late Eugenio (Gene) Zafra and his wife, Consuelo (Chito) Zafra, now 95 years old.
We want to acknowledge the past & present organizers aside from Chito: Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson, Nelo Edillon and the many volunteers and members of the FAFNM.
Source: Greenfield, T., “Consuelo Zafra: The Queen of Santacruzan,” The Filipino American Experience in New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM: FANHS Rio Grande Chapter, 2014.
Photos were provided by the members of FAFNM.