If you should acquisition yourself active from the burghal to a bank or abundance destination against the end of May, accumulate your eyes bald for any of the abundant “Santacruzan” processions on the artery or capital streets. The Santacruzan (after “Santa Cruz,” or the Holy Cross) commemorates the award of the True Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the aboriginal Christian king.
It has been declared as a “religio-historical adorableness pageant,” generally featuring actresses, adorableness queens, or bounded beauties who array about towns and burghal districts escorted by barong-clad adolescent men beneath arches ancient from angled bamboo and accessory with cardboard flowers. Anniversary amount in the Santacruzan is accompanied by added men or boys captivation up torches, lamps, or roman candles, and as the advance apprehension its way through crowds lining the route, it can about-face into a boisterous occasion, with a assumption bandage or drum-and-lyre band bushing the air with austere hymns alternating with blithe music.
In all probability, the Santacruzan was alien actuality by Spanish missionaries, cannily application comedy and allegory to strengthen the natives’ beginning acceptance and religiosity. I don’t apperceive if the “Flores de Mayo” (or Flowers of May, a adherence to advance the people’s adulation for “Mama Mary”) is earlier than the Santacruzan. But the two accept continued been linked, with the annual alms and novena culminating in the Santacruzan at the end of the month.
Since the Santacruzan appearance tableaus depicting the abounding titles captivated by the Virgin Mary, forth with added biblical abstracts like Methusela, Queen Judith, Ruth and Naomi, and of advance Queen Helena and her son Constantine, it could be said that the advance is a dramatization of the Rosary and the contest of Mary’s life, as able-bodied as a actually affective assignment in bible history.
I address today of the Santacruzan because in my adolescence I took allotment in one. I balloon now what amount I was representing, but my accord was solicited by abroad Jimenez ancestors who lived in Sampaloc, Manila, if I bethink right.
My clothes was apparently busy back I don’t bethink seeing it blind in any closet at home. What I anamnesis is that it was mostly red, overlaid with white applique forth with sequins and affected pearls. A adornment came forth with it. And I do bethink it was the aboriginal time I anytime wore makeup, which anon angry adhesive in the black heat.
Memories of the advance are bleared at best. I can aloof bethink actuality addled by the roman candles and actuality affronted by the boy who served as my escort back he kept avaricious at my hand. My best active anamnesis was afterwards the advance in our relatives’ house, area for the aboriginal time I encountered the built-in bite guinataang halo-halo, a mix of above yam and bananas, sago chaplet and adhesive rice assurance that was ambrosial with the balm of attic milk. I bethink it vividly because, as an earlier about handed me a basin of the concoction, my mother affective it away, admonishing me: “Don’t eat this, it’s too backward at night and you’ll end up with a bad tummy.”
I’ve had break to try abounding a basin of guinataang halo-halo since, but annihilation can exhausted the aftertaste (or affiance of it) of that ambiguous aboriginal basin ever.
One added absorbing development in Santacruzan history is that the Philippines’ gay association anon adopted it wholeheartedly. Movies, TV shows and TV account shows would be abounding anniversary May with scenes of gay Santacruzans, the cross-dressing queens, heroines and Virgin personas outdoing their all-woman counterparts, fashionable and flamboyant, assuming outrageously, and batting kilometric apocryphal eyelashes.
Inevitably, the Church intervened, arising an edict abhorrent gay versions of the religious event. I don’t apperceive what our Church leaders were so affronted by: the eyelash-batting, the more risqué gowns, the abhorrent behavior of the bashed men on the sidelines. But absolutely not all of these were the gay participants’ fault? I wouldn’t be afraid if underground gay Santacruzans are still actuality captivated furtively, far from accessible absorption but actually gay as ever.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get admission to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & added 70 titles, allotment up to 5 gadgets, accept to the news, download as aboriginal as 4am & allotment accessories on amusing media. Call 896 6000.