Monday, May 24, 2010

Flores de Mayo

Filipino townsfolk have long practiced celebrating the month of May.  For it is in this merry month when the dry spell ends and rains begin to pour.  Nature then comes back to life and colorful flowers bloom.

As rains bless the land, its arrival is celebrated with a festival popularly known as Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May).  The festival pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary by offering her flowers brought about by the rains.  The festivities continue with the townsfolk congregating in a central plaza  as they feast together on their very own homemade delicacies.

Adding color to the celebration is the much-awaited Santacruzan.  Beautiful town belles who embody traditional feminine qualities (humble, meek, very lady-like, sweet)  are chosen to participate in this ala-pageant parade that pass through every dirt road in small  barrios, busy town thoroughfares, and major city highways. 

A festival that was then celebrated the whole month of May.   But in this day and age, the frequency has likely lessened. So it seems. I only get the chance to see this colorful celebration on TV, and now hyped by the participation of  popular celebrities and beauty queens. A grander way of celebrating the tradition but gone are those days when each and every community had  their own version.  I speak from where I am ... the city.

Alfonso is a town located in Cavite.  It is also where Sonya's Garden is situated.  After dropping off my new batch of bead necklaces at Sonya's Garden Saturday afternoon, J. Bond, my Mother-in-law, an aunt and I happily witnessed Alfonso's way of celebrating a Santacruzan ....

Pardon the bird p-o-o-p on the right.  My windshield is a magnet of tweet-tweets.  We watched the parade from the car.

The parade started with senior citizens dancing to folklore music which blasted  from the sound system installed on a white van. 


Family, friends and neighbors gave support to the celebration and its participants by joining the parade.  NOTE: The number of supporters were more than the actual number of parade participants.

Highlight of the parade -- The Town Belles who ramped along the narrow streets clad in their colorful gowns and hand-in-hand with their escorts.

Grand or simple, I adore watching colorful celebrations.  Grand celebrations, hyped with celebrities, bring about awareness and a reminder to us all that the tradition is still alive. Yet I have realized, as we slowly inched away from the parade, that it is in  small town-initiated celebrations like this where one may experience and witness the real essence of a community.  No celebrities.  Only participated by each and every member of this small town. 

The rains may  have not trickled on our dry land yet, but surely the tradition continue to live in places where life is simpler and involvement is great.

No one remained glued along that street.  As the parade passed each house, members of the household locked their gates and simply joined ... including those 3 teens shooting a basketball in their make-shift ring.

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