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Santa Cruz de Mayo celebrated

A line of young men and women representing characters from the Bible, file into Saturday’s mass at St. Augustine’s. Leading the group is Molly de Leon as the Reyna del las Estrellas, or Queen of the Stars, with escort Jarred Ruefa.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
A line of young men and women representing characters from the Bible, file into Saturday’s mass at St. Augustine’s. Leading the group is Molly de Leon as the Reyna del las Estrellas, or Queen of the Stars, with escort Jarred Ruefa.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

As Flo Brewer neared the end of her Hawaiian-inspired dance, she locked eyes with 17-year-old Marilu Morgan, directing her attention and the dance, at her.

Morgan was representing the Virgin Mary, or Reyna Elena, at the St. Augustine’s Church Santa Cruz de Mayo celebration. Since she was 5-years-old, Morgan has attended many Filipino events. But she said that on Saturday, she gained a true sense of what it is to be a queen.

“When I was young, I just thought Reyna Elena was a cool name that rhymed,” she said.

While Morgan spent the day learning about her faith and crowning a statue of the Virgin Mary with flowers during mass, it was Brewer’s emotionally-charged dance that finally overwhelmed her.

“The song mentioned children and I hope to work with them one day,” she said. “When she stared at me, I started to tear up.”

In the Philippines, the Santacruzan, which includes a procession, mass and songs and dances, lasts the entire month of May. Chosen townspeople wear costumes to represent different characters from the Bible in a town-wide procession.

“The young men wear barong tagalogs, which is a pina cloth worn on special occasions,” Med Flores, who came with her three daughters, said. “It’s like the American tuxedo.”

Morgan’s dress could only be described as “bridal.” Entertainment director Marci Mallari said the young women usually spend two months getting ready and finding dresses. Each of the women had flowered crowns and were called daughters of the flowers.

Some of the younger children helped lead the procession down Oak Harbor Road, as about 100 people in colorful clothing marched around the church. Trailing behind were the ushers who carried a statue of the Virgin Mary.

“The best part is that these young kids are learning about their culture and will hopefully continue this tradition,” Morgan said.

To see some of the performances from the Santa Cruz de Mayo celebration, go to whidbeynewstimes.com under the entertainment section.

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