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Traditional and biblical assembly of Santacruzan

May 19, 2019

The original practice of Santacruzan in the Philippines as taught by the Spanish saw Biblical characters in procession as follows.

1. Matusalem (Methuselah). A bearded man and bent with age, depicted as riding a cart and looking preoccupied with toasting grains of sand in a pan over fire. A reminder that the world is temporary and will end like the dust being toasted.

2. Reyna Banderada (Queen with a Banner). A young lady dressed in a long red gown bearing yellow pennant, as symbol of the arrival of Christianity.

3. Aetas. Dark-skinned indigenous peoples of the Philippines such as Aeta and Ati, which predate the ancestors of Austronesian Filipinos by tens of thousands of years.

4. Reyna Mora (Queen Moor). A representation of Muslim Filipinos as Islam came to the archipelago two centuries earlier than Christianity. Mary is also honored in the Qur’an, 19th sura (chapter).

5. Reyna ng Saba (Queen of Sheba). Carrying a jewelry box, she represents the unnamed queen who visited King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power and riches. She is described in the “Legenda Aurea” as one who venerated the beam of a bridge she was crossing, as prophesy of the role of the wood as part of the True Cross.

6. Rut at Noemi (Ruth and Naomi). Moabite convert to Judaism and her mother-in-law from whom she was inseparable. Ruth came from the ancestry of King David, and one of four women listed in the genealogies of Jesus found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

7. Reyna Judit (Queen Judith). Biblical widow Judith of Bethulia, who saved her city from the Assyrians by slaying the general Holofernes. Also known as Infanta (Princess) Judit, she carries Holofernes’ head in one hand and a sword in the other.

8. Reyna Ester (Queen Esther). Jewish queen of Persia who spared her people from death at the hands of Haman through her timely intervention with King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.

9. Cleopatra. Famous last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, with Roman senator and general Marc Anthony as her lover.

10. Samaritana/Sta. Photinna (The Female Samaritan). The Samaritan woman at the well with whom Jesus conversed. Traditionally named Photini, she carries a water jug on her shoulder.

11. Sta. Veronica. One who wiped the face of the Lord bearing a veil that has three images of the Holy Face Jesus.

12. Tres Marias (Three Marys). Each holds a unique attribute associated with the Entombment of Christ.

13. Sta. Maria Magdalena (Mary Magdalene). Holds a bottle of perfume. Was once conflated with Mary of Bethany, who anointed and wiped Jesus’ feet.

14. Sta. Maria de Cleofas (Mary, mother of James, wife of Cleopas). Bears a whisk broom.

15. Sta. Maria Salome (Mary Salome). Bears a thurible or a bottle of oil, alluding to her role as myrrh bearer).

16. Reyna Fe (Queen Faith). Carries a cross, as symbol of faith, the first of the theological virtues.

17. Reyna Esperanza (Queen Hope). Carries an anchor, as symbol of hope, the second theological virtue.

18. Reyna Caridad (Queen Charity). Carries a red-colored heart, as symbol of charity, the third theological virtue.

19. Reyna Sentenciada (Queen Convicted). Her are hands bound by rope to symbolize early Christians, particularly virgins, who were persecuted and martyred for the faith. Sometimes accompanied by two Roman soldiers.

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