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Filipinos celebrate May flower festival in Taiwan

UCAN Corazon Dy crowns the Marian statue in Taipei
  • Francis Kuo, Taipei
  • May 31 2010
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About 600 Filipino migrant workers in Taipei celebrated their May flower (or Holy Cross) festival yesterday, a traditional event in the Philippines that falls on the last Sunday of May.

It is a brave witness of faith to take a procession to the streets, Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei told participants as he gave them his blessing.

A 90-minute procession passed through five downtown streets starting from St. Christophers Church, which houses a center for migrant workers.

Participants gave roses to spectators while singing and beating drums along the route.

Chen Yeh-shin, director of Taipeis labor department, which sponsored the event, told participants that respecting the religious faith of migrant workers has always been a major policy of the department.

Sister Eulalia Loreto, who serves at the migrant workers center, told UCA News there was a record turnout for the procession this year. St. Christophers Church has been holding the festival for over a decade, though it is not celebrated every year.

The festival is centered on the virtues of the Virgin Mary and involves a procession commemorating Saint Helenas legendary finding of the Holy Cross of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Corazon Dy became Queen Elena of this years festival from among 12 other kings and queens who took part in a beauty pageant during the festivities. Supporters had to buy NT$25 (US$.078) charity tickets in order to vote for them.

Father Leonila Mantilla, the migrant center director, said the festival raised about NT$10,000 through charity ticket sales.

There are about 38,000 migrant workers working in Taipei with around 7,500 coming from the Philippines.

TA09884/1604 May 31, 2010 (304 words)

Flowers of May festival draws on Marian virtues
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