The Meaning Behind Our Traditions
Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo Street Festival
Santacruzan is a religious commemoration of the finding of the True Cross by the Emperatriz (thus, Reyna Elena) mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine who, in the Edict of Milan in 313, legalized Christianity. This paved the way for its spread throughout the world. But it is also the celebration of the Spanish springtime tradition of Flores de Mayo dedicated to the Blessed Mother with offerings of flowers and festive processions.
In the Filipino way of brightening solemn events into joyous ones, the two feasts were merged to form what is now known as the “Queen of Filipino Feasts”, the Santacruzan. It is held on the 9th night of the novena honoring the Holy Cross. The novena procession includes the Reynas, Sagalas (muses), Flower Girls, Angels, their Escorts and a display of biblical figures, characters of beauty, purity and fancy, and symbols of attributes to the Virgin Mary. The relic of the True Cross, used to lead Santacruzan procession resides at St. Aedan’s Church. Jersey City. The Catholic Action of Mary (CAM) will hold the 45th Santacruzan and Flores De Mayo” in Jersey City on Sunday, May 28, 2023 at St. Mary's Church (Second St./Erie St). CAM's mission is to preserve our heritage by celebrating and sharing the meaning behind our Filipino religious and cultural traditions. CAM's celebration is the largest and longest running Santacruzan here in the East Coast.
CAM’s “Santacruzan & Flores de Mayo” is the largest and longest running “Santacruzan or Santakrusan” celebration in the entire East Coast, USA. The “Santacruzan Procession” was first held in May of 1978 in downtown Jersey City, NJ along Manila Ave. in the heart of its thriving first generation Filipino-American community. The celebration of the “Santacruzan Procession” is yearly participated by over 500 families. The most beloved Filipino cultural tradition is now joined by three generations of Filipino-Americans.
In 2006, CAM in community partnership with PACCAL a non-profit 501 (c) (3), founded its first “Santacruzan Street Fair” located on one block, on Second St. (just off Manila Ave.) with flea market vendors and the live entertainment attended by its yearly 3,000 people. It expanded to two city blocks along Second St. reaching its capacity in 2013 with eighty vendor booths and attendance of 6,000 people. 2014 marked the “Santacruzan Street Fair's” historic move to Manila Ave. occupying four city blocks, attended by 10,000 people as Jersey City Mayor, Steve Fulop proclaimed the date as the “Official Santacruzan Day.” In 2015 our venue expanded to occupy six city blocks along Manila Ave. with the addition of the “Santacruzan 5K Race” & “Health Fair” Over 12,500 are estimated to attend this year's 2018 festival.
ABOUT CATHOLIC ACTION OF MARY
CAM is the Filipino lay organization in Jersey City, NJ. It was originally started in 1978 as an organization at St. Mary's Church. CAM's parish fundraising activities, continues to preserve the celebration of several Filipino cultural traditions including: Sto. Nino de Tondo Fiesta, Pabasa, Easter Salubong, Divine Mercy Pilgrimage, Santacruzan & Flores de Mayo and Simbang Gabi. Misang Pilipino is held every 1st Sunday of the month at St. Mary's Church. Everyone is welcome to experience a celebration of the Holy Eucharist in our Tagalog language. After the Holy Mass in Marian Hall, join the fellowship and breakfast.
ABOUT PAN AMERICAN CONCERNED CITIZENS ACTION LEAGUE(PACCAL)
PACCAL is a non-profit 501 (c) 3, a health & human services organization in Jersey City, NJ It is a multi-service community & family based organization offering: referrals & information on senior entitlements; social & recreational activities for seniors; youth classes on Philippine history, values & culture; substance abuse prevention program; educational forums & workshops for youth and family; HIV/AIDS Outreach & support group; domestic violence prevention; voters registration & citizenship drives; and referrals to affordable medical check-ups and health services. Most known for its Healthy Aging Program for Seniors, PACCAL holds the distinction of being the only Asian Provider Agency recognized by the Hudson County Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Office on Aging.
Our Reynas and Hermanos
The highlight of the day is the celebration of the Sanatcruzan Mass and traditional Religious Procession with the Hermanos y Hermanas Mayores, the Reynas & Sagalas. The Reynas and Hermanos are chosen annually after the event of the Santacruzan Ball.
This year's Reynas and Hermanos are To be Announced this year! Stay tuned!