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Flores de Mayo: Celebrating the Beauty of Nature and Devotion in the Philippines

Flores de Mayo, which means “flowers of May” in Spanish, is a month-long celebration in the Philippines that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is celebrated every year in May and is one of the most colorful and vibrant festivals in the country.
Judgefloro, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

History and Significance

The tradition of Flores de Mayo dates back to the Spanish colonial era, when Catholicism was introduced to the Philippines. The festival is believed to have originated in the early 1800s, when a wealthy Filipino family in Manila organized a procession in honor of the Virgin Mary. The festival was then adopted by the Catholic Church and has been celebrated throughout the country ever since.

The festival is a way for Filipinos to honor the Virgin Mary and express their gratitude for the blessings they have received. It is also a way to celebrate the beauty of nature, as the festival is centered around flowers and the abundance of the spring season.

Celebrations and Traditions

Flores de Mayo is celebrated in different ways throughout the Philippines, but some of the most common traditions include:

  1. Santacruzan: This is a religious procession that takes place on the last day of the festival. It involves a parade of young women, each representing a biblical character or a Marian virtue, dressed in colorful gowns and carrying flowers and candles.
  2. Mayflower Festival: This is a celebration of the abundance of flowers in May. It typically involves the decoration of churches and homes with flowers, and the offering of flower baskets to the Virgin Mary.
  3. Harana: This is a traditional serenade performed by young men for their beloved. During Flores de Mayo, harana is often performed in honor of the Virgin Mary.
  4. Alay: This is a form of offering, where devotees bring flowers, candles, and other items to the church to offer to the Virgin Mary.

The festival is not only a religious celebration but also a cultural one. It showcases the creativity and artistry of Filipinos, as well as their strong sense of community and devotion.

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