Three year old Gabriel Austria walked down the aisle as the Constantine, with his Reyna Elena, Ms. Lillibeth Kantola. It was his second Santacruzan in Thailand. Unlike in his parents’ home province in Quezon, the Santacruzan in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) City was held at Sima Thani Hotel on May 28, 2017.
“It is important for the Filipino kids to be oriented about the customs and traditions of our country,” Gabriel’s father, Russel Austria explains.
Keeping the Filipino Culture alive
Despite living and working in a foreign country, the traditional Flores de Mayo in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated by the Catholic Migrants’ Community. It was the second Flores de Mayo/ Santa Cruzan held in the Diocese of Nakhon Ratchasima since Father Freddie Dizon, MSP became the parish priest in 2015.
Barrio Fiesta, Flores de Mayo and Santa Cruzan were held simultaneously by the community.
Flores de Mayo is offering flowers and prayers to Blessed Virgin Mary every month of May. It is a devotion to Blessed Mary done by Catholics worldwide. Santacruzan is traditionally held every 31st of May. Different reyna or queens paraded on the street. The main attraction is Reyna Elena with her consort Constantine, usually a young boy. It is the reenactment of Queen Helena’s search for the Cross where Jesus died. Legends tell that Emperor Constantine accompanied his mother, Helena.
“This celebration is to remind the Filipino migrants that aside from its cultural significance, Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo are also Roman Catholic traditions that we have to preserve and celebrate,” Gernigan Mendoza, Pastoral Planning Committee says.
The celebration also coincided with the 100th year anniversary of the Apparition of the Lady of Fatima in Portugal to the three children in 1917.
The celebration was attended by Filipinos, Thais and other foreigners who are active in the Catholic Community.