by Ricardo Gacayan, Jr.
The Greenwich Filipino Community (GCF) once again conducted its annual “Santacruzan” as part of the “Flores De Mayo” festivity on May 28, 2016 along the main thoroughfares of Woolwich in Greenwich, London.
Moises Espanola, GCF head together with the other officers led the ceremonies. Mr. Espanola was recently elected as one of the new members of the Board of Trustees of ENFiD-UK.
A mass was celebrated beforehand at St. Peter’s Church. Later, a procession started therefrom with the different Reynas (Queens) of the Santacruzan led by Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) accompanied by their escorts as well as other revelers.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was also carried around while the people prayed in chorus. A “salu-salo” or get-together party followed the parade where the people partook of some foods and drinks.
Edwin Dela Cruz, incumbent Chairperson of ENFiD-UK, was present and joined in the procession of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the “royal entourage” of the Santacruzan. He said, “It was wonderful to experience the community spirit, the hospitality, warmth and the Filipino tradition kept alive in London.”
Flores de Mayo (Spanish for “May flowers”) is one of the most popular festivals held in the Philippines. It is a devotion on the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lasts for the entire month.
The Santacruzan (Spanish for “sacred cross”) is the ritual pageant held on the last day of Flores de Mayo. This honours the finding of the true cross by Helena of Constantinople (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great. This tradition is now a popular celebration amongst Filipinos in the United Kingdom.