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article imageFilipinos Show Devotion in Semi-Religious Procession in Toronto Special

By Romeo Marquez     May 30, 2011 in World
Religious devotees and several Filipino families took to the streets in a show of devotion to their Catholic faith. "Santacruzan" as they refer to it, is both a flower festival and a public prayer usually held in May.
A tradition that's happily being practiced in Toronto by Filipino Catholics is the devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary.
On Sunday (May 29, 2011), devotees held their semi-religious procession -- santacruzan it is called in the Philippines -- along the streets surrounding the Our Lady of the Assumption Church on Bathurst Street.
A few hundreds participated. Police sealed off the entire church block for the rite that started and ended in the church.
Over the years, the santacruzan has evolved from a strictly religious affair into one that's more welcoming of cultural and social changes in the community. Thus, the participation of beauty queens, young and old, who take on religious roles.
Yesterday was no different. Young girls in white robes were designated "angels" making an offering of flowers to the Blessed Mother. Several community organizations sent in their beauties -- sashed, crowned and dressed to the hilt -- and took positions in the short parade around the OLA church.
The "santacruzan" is a seasonal event usually held in May, thus its other monicker "Flores de Mayo" (literally, flowers of May). Devotees in Toronto call it the "Month of Mary" which is then observed with flowers.
In the Philippines, villages hold their "santacruzan" as a way of imploring Divine Providence for rain since the months preceding May are the hot and dry months, and the rice farms needed to be watered for the incoming planting season. The procession is also an expression of gratitude for a good harvest of rice.
Sunday's event was capped by a Filipino Mass after which food and refreshments were served.
More about Filipino Catholics, procession, flores de mayo, santacruzan
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