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Santa Cruzan 2017 by Stichting Kabitbahayan in the Netherlands paraded beautiful ‘Sagalas


By Angel Axinto
May 30, 2017
Spijkenisse, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 
 


Let the tradition lives on! The Philippines is famous for its unique culture and traditions and is one that is very unique in the world.  And for those who are far from home, there is nothing sweeter than practicing Santa Cruzan in a land we called our second home.

Nothing could be more perfect than having the  procession on a warm sunny day with the temperature as high as 31 degrees Celsius, it felt like walking on Philippine soil. Celebrated last Saturday, May 27, 2017 in Spijkenisse, beautiful Reyna’s (Queens) paraded the streets in Eijkenlaan, illustrating the real meaning of Santa Cruzan.

Coming from the Spanish word “Santa Cruz” meaning Holy Cross. Santa Cuzan is called as the “Queen of Filipino festivals”. Flores de Mayo, Spanish for "flowers of May", is a ritual pageant held in many cities, towns and villages in the Philippines during the month of May. It is one of the May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lasts for the entire month. And in as much as this year is the celebration of the centennial of the apparition of Our Lady Of Fatima, the festival is extra special.

The fiesta depicts the finding of the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by Queen Helena, the mother of the very powerful Emperor, Constantine the Great who ended the persecution of Christians.

Introduced in the Philippines by the Spanish conquerors, this custom and celebration started after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. And since then, it became a part of us. The tradition is religiously celebrated preceded by the nine days of prayer, a novena, in honor of the Holy Cross and coupled with the Flores de Mayo.

Walking the streets in the Netherlands during the procession while praying the Holy Rosary in chorus is an experience no amount of words could justify. A feeling of elation, pride and being blessed. People came out of their houses to witness this extraordinary display of cultural beauty. Some were perplexed at first, but that quickly changed to admiration as they smiled, waved and took pictures of the procession.

Instead of icons or images, beautiful women with elegant costumes, portray biblical and historical characters. The persons in the parade called, Sagalas, symbolize queens from the past and are dressed beautifully to emulate “real” queens.

After the Holy mass the festivity was followed by a sumptuous dinner prepared by the sisters Yanie and Edda Liaw after which the party kicked off.
 

Santa Cruzan is undeniably the most beautiful festival that makes us who we are - Filipinos. It is a part of our lives, it defines us and makes us unique, a treasure that we must cherish and preserve. In the Netherlands, Stichting Kapitbahayan, headed by Mherzy Van der Steen-Gemarino, is dedicated in promoting and preserving our culture and tradition in this part of Europe.

In behalf of Stichting Kapitbahayan, I  would like to thank all our friends who helped, supported and joined the gala. Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.
We are inviting everyone to join us next year and keep this glamorous tradition alive!




Photos courtesy of: Anna Bracamonte, Herminis Arao, Colet Sable, Irene Becoy-Dusee, Rosa Cabrillas and Riza Nieuwland.

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