I've blogged a little about the May month last year and it seems that more than any other time of the year, I've developed a penchant for the month of flowers. Everything about here is lovely.
Way back in the days, young girls were on the lookout for flowers in May. Then they'd pick these flowers, put them in baskets and shower them to the Virgin after the Rosario and the cancion. They do this for the whole month, meaning 31 days, picking flowers and going to church everyday. Just another tradition left by the Spaniards, if you'd ask me.
More than the flowers, the Flores de Mayo is about prayers. The elders say that praying everyday is the way to great luck. They did not specify what kind of religion this pertains to (though I was raised Catholic), but we were just ordered to recite some prayers everyday. As a child I have honestly been a little too impatient for such. Imagine, kneeling down and saying the same things over and over again for fifteen minutes. In my grandparents' house, the seriousness of the prayer sessions have given my younger brothers a great opportunity to make funny faces, (the elders, deep in concentration, pray with their eyes closed, so they couldn't really see what's going on) and giggling during the prayer process means a good whacking on your backside afterwards. I almost always seemed to have a painful backside.
Another good thing about Flores de Mayo is that there's food after the flores. There used to be sponsors- mostly the moneyed people in the community - who'd send all sorts of biskwit, candies, sometimes pansit, and on the last day, the "richest" sponsor gave the grandest "suhol".
I see Flores de Mayo as a dying tradition now in my hometown. Not sure what happens in the other Philippine provinces, but in our place, it is no longer a grand as it used to be. There was no one to teach the Spanish songs anymore, for those old ladies who did, already passed away a long time ago. I think where ever ther are, they are still singing-
La Virgen de amores
Venid a cantar
Pungamos las flores
Al pie de su altar...
... O clemente, o pia
O dulce, o dulce
Siempre Virgen Maria!