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Rediscovering a True Santacruzan

https://www.behance.net/gallery/10156607/True-Santacruzan

One of my very personal projects that I really enjoyed making, and learning about. The
"Santacruzan" is a Filipino celebration during the month of May, during the Flores de
Mayo where young women re-enact the finding of the True Cross, the cross where Jesus
Christ died. They dress up in a procession, even though most don't know the meaning
of. This deeply religious event has become a pageantry of women trying to be the most
beautiful of all by having the best gowns, or the highest position.

For those who are unfamiliar, "the santacruzan, is a re-enactment that commemorates
the finding of the True Cross, which was found by Saint Helena, the mother of the
Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After
Christianity was granted freedom of practice throughout the Roman Empire in 312
A.D., she journeyed to the Holy Land, and eventually discovered where the three
crosses used at the crucifixion of Jesus and the two thieves were hidden."

I wanted to bring back the true meaning of a Santacruzan, by focusing more of what
each "Reyna" represents, rather than what she's wearing. Traditionally each "Reyna"
would be carrying an object to symbolize their character. Arranged in a circle
mimicking a procession that would end up in the middle, where we finally see Helena,
the founder of the True Cross and her son, Emperor Constantine. The text on the four
corners is the prayer sung throughout the procession, "Dios te Salve".

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This has become one of my favorite illustrations and projects. I hope you like it as well.
Below is the list of the characters and their meaning. Note that some meanings might
differ from other Philippine cities and regions. I hope you read through it and learn
something beautiful.

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Dalagang Filipina (Filipina Maiden) She carries the Philippine flag.

Ceriales Three boys, two of them carrying candles on poles and one carrying the cross.

Methuselah He is bearded and bent with age, he is depicted as riding a cart and looking
preoccupied with toasting grains of sand in a pan over a fire. This is a reminder that the
world is transient and will end up like the dust which he is toasting.

Reyna Banderada (Queen with a banner) She is a young lady dressed in a long red
gown carrying a yellow and white flag. She represents the arrival of Christianity.

Aetas She represents the aboriginal Filipinos who were the very first settlers of the
islands and represents the state of the country before the coming of Christianity.

Reyna Mora (Queen Moor) She epresents Muslim Filipinos, owing to Mary's status in
Islam and mention in the Qur'an. Islam arrived in the Philippines two centuries before
Christianity and today is the second-largest religion in the islands.

Reyna Fe (Queen Faith) She symbolizes Faith, the first of the theological virtues. She
carries a cross.

Reyna Ezperanza (Queen Hope) She symbolizes Hope, the second theological virtue.
She carries an anchor.

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Reyna Caridad (Queen Charity) She symbolizes Charity, the third theological virtue.
She carries a red-colored heart.

Dalagang Bukid (Farm Maiden) She carries a basket of fruit and vegetables that
represents the abundant yield of farmlands.

Reyna Justicia (Queen Justice) She is the image of the "mirror of justice". Blindfolded,
carries a weighing scales of justice and a sword.

Reyna Abogada (Queen Advocate) She is the defender of the poor and the oppressed,
she wears a black mortarboard cap, graduation gown, and carries a large book.

Reyna Sentenciada (Queen Convicted) She has her hands bound by a rope/iron, she stands for the
Early Christians, especially the virgins, who were martyred for the Faith. She is sometimes
accompanied by two Roman soldiers, representing Judith sentenced for killing Holofernes and
convicted innocents.

Reyna Judith (Queen Judith) She is holding in one hand a bloodied sword and in the other the
severed head of Holofernes, and symbolizing triumphant womanhood. She represents the Biblical
widow Judith of Bethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians by slaying the cruel Holofernes.

Reyna Sheba (Queen Sheba) She represents the unnamed queen who visited King Solomon and was
overwhelmed by his wisdom, power, and riches. She carries a jewelry box and being cooled with an
ostrich feather.

Reyna Esther (Queen Esther) She is the biblical Jewish queen of Persia, who spared her people from
death at the hands of Haman through her timely intervention with King Xerxes. She personifies the
cardinal virtue of prudence. She carries a scepter capped with the Star of David.

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Eve Escorted by Adam, they are holding a branch of apple. They manifest the fall of mankind and
the need for a Creator to redeem mankind.

Ruth & Naomi The great-grandmother of Israel's heroic king, David and the ancestresses of Jesus
Christ. She carries rice stalks symbolizing fidelity.

Rebecca She was married to Isaac, one of the patriarchs of the Jewish nation, was assertive and
fought for what she believed was right. She carries a cup or glass of wine symbolizing humility in
service.

Deborah She was the only female judge in the Jewish Bible. Carrying the scroll of law symbolizing
just decision.

La Samaritana (The Female Samaritan) She is the woman whom Christ spoke to at Jacob's well. She
represents the outcast who reformed after encountering the Christ. She reminds us salvation is not
only for the Jews but also for the gentiles. She carries a jug on her shoulder.

Martha & Mary of Bethany The sisters of Lazarus, the man who Jesus resurrected from the dead.
When Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Him while her sister Martha busied herself with
preparing food and waiting on the guests, and when Martha complained, Jesus said that Mary had
chosen the better part. Mary carries a bottle of wine, represents Contemplation (prayer and
devotion), and Martha carries a basket of bread, represents Action (good works, helping others); or
love of God and love of neighbor respectively.

Veronica The woman who wiped the face of Jesus, she bears her Veil which has three imprints of the
Holy Face of Jesus instead of one.

Tres Marias (Three Marys) Mary Magdala (Mary Magdalene) She carries a bottle of perfume, as
Catholic tradition once conflated her with Mary of Bethany who wiped Jesus' feet.

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Tres Marias (Three Marys) Mary Mother of Christ She carries a handkerchief, for she is
in mourning.

Tres Marias (Three Marys) Mary Mother of James She carries oil.

Avemaria Represented by eight angels. Each one carries a letter to complete the words
"AVE MARIA."

Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess) She symbolizing the guide of all Christians and
holding a shepherd’s staff.

Reyna de las Estrellas (Queen of the Stars) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a wand with a star.

Reyna de los Ángeles (Queen of Angels) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries bouquet of white flowers, escorted by angels.

Luklukan ng Karunungan (Seat of Wisdom) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of
the Virgin Mary. She carries a bible that symbolizes the words of wisdom.

Susî ng Langit (Key of Heaven) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the Virgin
Mary. She carries two keys, one gold and the other silver, that symbolizes the entrance
to Heaven.

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Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the Virgin
Mary. She carries a bouquet of roses that symbolizes the immaculate heart of Mary.

Reyna de la Páz (Queen of Peace) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the Virgin
Mary. She carries a dove that symbolizes peace.

Corazón de María (Heart of Mary) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the Virgin
Mary. She carries a pink heart that symbolizes the heart of Mary.

Reyna del Santísimo Rosario (Queen of the Most Holy Rosary) Marian title, celebrating
the many titles of the Virgin Mary. She carries a big rosary that symbolizes the
mysteries in the life of Christ.

Reyna Luna (Queen Moon) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the Virgin Mary.
She represents the moon, as the throne or footstool of Mary. She carries as a scepter
bejeweled with a crescent moon.

Reyna Candelária (Queen of Candles) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a long lit taper, that symbolizes Purification of Mary.

Reyna de los Patriarcas (Queen of Patriarchs) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of
the Virgin Mary. She carries a wooden staff/branch that symbolizes the patriarchs.

Reyna de los Profetas (Queen of Prophets) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of
the Virgin Mary. She carries an hour glass that symbolizes the prophets.

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Reyna de los Confesores (Queen of Confessors) Marian title, celebrating the many titles
of the Virgin Mary. She carries a lamp with a purple candle that symbolizes confession.

Reyna de los Mártires (Queen of Martyrs) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries the palm branch of martyrdom.

Reyna de los Apóstoles (Queen of Apostles) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of
the Virgin Mary. She carries the Vatican Church that symbolizes the apostles and
priesthood.

Reyna de los Santos (Queen of Saints) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a golden wreath that symbolizes the crown of saints.

Reyna del Cielo (Queen of Heaven) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a flower and is accompanied by two little angels.

Reyna de las Vírgenes (Queen of Virgins) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a rosary and is accompanied by two little angels.

Reyna de las Flores (Queen of Flowers) Marian title, celebrating the many titles of the
Virgin Mary. She carries a bouquet of flowers that symbolizes femininity.

Reyna Emperatríz (Queen Empress) The name of Saint Constantine the Great’s mother
Helena. The title Emperatriz is derived from the Latin words Augusta Imperatrix, an
honorific title given by the emperor to his mother. She wears a long red cape and carries
an orb.

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San Macario (St. Macario) He was the bishop the escorted Helena to Jerusalem, and
helped her find the True Cross.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with three dice on a plate.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with Judas' 30 pieces of silver.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with rooster of St. Peter.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with three nails.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with the label “INRI”.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with crown of thorns.

Representations of the passion and death of Jesus: Sagala with spear.

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True Cross The cross where Jesus Christ was crucified.

Virgin Mary The Blessed Virgin Mary in a float surrounded by flowers.

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Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) She represents Helena of Constantinople who found the
True Cross; this is symbolized by her attribute, a small cross crucifix that she carries in
her arms. She is escorted by a young boy, his son Emperor Constantine.

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