Santacruzan (40 years of celebration)
Join the Filipino American community in New Mexico in celebrating “Santacruzan” on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The event will start with the 4:00 p.m. Holy Mass at San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town, Albuquerque. The Mass will be followed by a procession at the Old Town Plaza. This is an annual event sponsored by the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico and was introduced by Consuelo (Chito) Zafra (now 95 years old) and her late husband, Eugene Zafra in 1977. The Filipino Cultural Show, which showcases music and dances from different ethnic groups (see bottom photos), will start at 6:00 pm at the Old Town Gazebo. The event is FREE. The Cultural Show is sponsored by the Filipino American Community Council, City of Albuquerque City Council and Cultural Services.
“Santacruzan” is the word that Filipinos use to refer to “Santa Cruz de Mayo,” a celebration in honor of our Blessed Mother. The celebration commemorates Queen Helen’s finding the Holy Cross during the reign of her young son, King Constantino. It is believed that “Reyna Elena,” “Rey Constantino,” and their subjects asked for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help them find the Holy Cross which had been taken away from the Christians by the infidels. The “Santa Cruz de Mayo” is celebrated by a procession commemorating this historic event. Throughout the procession, the song “Dios de Salve” is sung.
During the month of May in the Philippines, every evening, there is a town somewhere celebrating the “Santa Cruz de Mayo.” A town usually does it for nine consecutive evenings, like a novena. On the ninth evening, the whole town has a fiesta.
It has been a project of the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico to celebrate “Santa Cruz de Mayo” every year. (The people who have made this event possible for 40 years are: Consuelo Zafra, Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson and now, Betsy Custodio.) Nine consecutive evenings are not practical here in Albuquerque. So, on Saturday, May 20th, we will celebrate the 9th evening.
“Santa Cruz de Mayo” is also referred to as “Flores de Mayo.” May is the month when flowers of all kinds are blooming in the Philippines, so the procession is adorned with colorful gay flowers. For this reason, one of the queens in the procession is called, “Reyna de las Flores.”
The participants in the procession are called “sagalas.” They represent the important individuals during the expedition and the angels and saints that were called upon to intercede for them. The main characters in the procession are: Reyna Elena, Reyna de las Flores, Reyna Sheba,” and “Reyna Esther.”
The Cultural Show was posted on the following on-line calendar events:
- Visit Albuquerque (photo: FPAG Kini Kini dancers)
- Eventful (4 photos: FPAG kulintang musicians, Arnis and Kini Kini dancers, ESPFDG)
- Albuquerque Journal (photo: ESPFDG)
- ABQtodo (photo: ESPFDG)
- Weekly Alibi (photo: ESPFDG)
- KUNM Calendar (Sent ESPFD photo but did not include in the calendar)
To view complete images, double click on the photos and double click AGAIN for the enlarged images.
Print Press Release about Santacruzan
People of God Magazine, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, May 2017 issue, page 29.
Albuquerque Journal (Life in NM Magazine), May 14, 2017, see photo below.
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