By Ricky Matthew
Cover photo: The Santacruzan Pageant in the Philippines by Luigi Bertello
AUCKLAND – The Flores de Mayo Festival is an annual celebration that takes place throughout the Philippines during the month of May. And locals there eagerly look forward to joining the ‘Santacruzan’ – a colourful pageant procession on the last day of Flores de Mayo when you can witness the beauty and grace of the community as Filipinos are not only able to show their devotion but also their artistic flair through the intricately designed gowns and the parade decor.
The good news is that the glitter and glamour of this Filipino tradition is also blossoming New Zealand wide with several groups coming on board to organize different variations to the theme of this fiesta.
With its roots coming from the Spanish colonial period, Santacruzan was originally introduced as a way to promote Catholicism to the local population. Over time, Santacruzan has become a uniquely Filipino festival that is celebrated grandly by Filipinos around the world.
In Auckland, Banyuhay Aotearoa organised ‘Santacruzan for a Cause’ to give Filipinos a taste of the traditions and festivities of this grand celebration.In Auckland, Banyuhay Aotearoa organised ‘Santacruzan for a Cause’ to give Filipinos a taste of the traditions and festivities of this grand celebration.
“Our charitable trust aims at spreading the rich and vibrant Filipino culture in New Zealand,” says Emma Baet Carreon, a spokesperson for Banyuhay Aotearoa.
“For the whole month of May, Filipino children offer flowers to the Virgin Mary to honour and remember her with prayers, they receive religious teachings, and they do services in the community. At the end of the month, the Santacruzan is held to culminate all these beautifully.”
“Our event is especially focused on Filipinos wishing to experience this again as well as those ‘KiwiNoys’ who haven’t had the chance to.
It was be held on May 27, 2023, at the St Heliers Church and Hall in Auckland.
As a unique addition to New Zealand, there was a youth participant chosen with the title of Reyna Flores de Aotearoa.
According to the organisers, the proceeds from the event will be given to beneficiaries St. Benedict parish for helping and assisting our new migrants and sponsoring a community learning hub in Zamboanga.