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Santa Cruz de Mayo celebrated

During Santa Cruz de Mayo parade Saturday, “Reyna Elena.” 17-year-old Jennel Ramos, a senior at Oak Harbor High School, smiles to people along Whidbey Avenue. - Cynthia Woolbright
During Santa Cruz de Mayo parade Saturday, “Reyna Elena.” 17-year-old Jennel Ramos, a senior at Oak Harbor High School, smiles to people along Whidbey Avenue.
— image credit: Cynthia Woolbright

Every May, Oak Harbor’s Filipino community celebrates Santa Cruz de Mayo, a 10-day religious heritage event honoring the Virgin Mary.

“We keep doing this for our kids — we want them to know about their heritage and culture,” said Vic Guerra, Santa Cruz de Mayo Association president.

Nine days of the Santa Cruz de Mayo celebration, which translates to “the Holy Cross of May,” are spent in prayer. The novena, or reciting of the Rosary, takes place during evening masses held at St. Augustine’s Church.

The tenth day begins with morning mass, and a parade that represents the search for the Holy Cross. The elaborate procession is filled with prayer and song.

Santa Cruz de Mayo was introduced to the Philippines by Spanish missionaries in 1521. This marks the eleventh Santa Cruz de Mayo celebration for Oak Harbor.

Members of Oak Harbor’s Fil-Am Association, Santa Cruz de Mayo Association, St. Augustine and St. Joseph’s parishes, as well as the Knights of Columbus march in the parade.

Leading the parade is the selected Reyna Elena or “Queen Helen.” The name is taken from Queen Helena of Rome, mother of Constantine the Great, who is said to have discovered the original cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The 10-day Santa Cruz de Mayo celebration wrapped up at St. Augustine’s with a potluck feast of Filipino specialties. For more information about Oak Harbor’s Filipino-American Association and its programs, go to http://www.

geocities.com/Heartland/3592/. For information on next year’s celebration, call Guerra at 675-0597.

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